Keep God First

by Pastor Cheryl Mathison

I celebrated my first communion in fifth grade, age 10 at Holy Nativity Lutheran Church in New Hope. I don’t remember what we did to prepare, though I am sure there was a class or workshop or something. I don’t remember what I wore, though I am sure it included a new dress. I don’t remember the worship service or the communion experience, though I am sure it was lovely. And, I don’t even remember the gathering at my house afterwards, though I am sure it included my grandparents and food and presents.

But, one thing I do remember and will never forget. Inside the card from my mom and dad was a yellow piece of stationary folded in half. On it my mother had written: “Congratulations on your first communion. Remember to always keep God first.” I still have that piece of paper. All these years later and those words are as simply profound and poignant to me today even as they were the first time I read them forty years ago. Thank you, Mom.

During Lent 2011, we are encouraging the St. Philip the Deacon community to reflect on the Sacrament of Holy Communion — recalling early memories, describing memorable celebrations of Communion, or reflecting on how Communion informs daily life. This post is part of that series. We invite your reflections about Communion, as well. If you would like to submit something for this series, please send it to Pastor Cheryl Mathison at

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