Sunday morning: Youngest is serving as an acolyte, and gets to help serve communion.
When it is our turn to go forward we join the line on the right side of the aisle, even though we were sitting on the left side. Communion is almost over and we came from the balcony, anyway, so we aren’t disturbing the flow of things. When Youngest sees us coming up the aisle on her side, I’m pretty sure I can hear a tiny little Yes! but I for sure see her grin. We are—of course—in exactly the right place.
The pastor breaks bits of bread from the loaf in his hand and offers a piece to each person who approaches. “The body of Christ, given for you.” To children he says, “The love of Christ, given for you.” The line inches forward. As each person moves to the side and takes a cup from the tray she is holding, Youngest says, “The blood of Christ, shed for you.” The three phrases are a quiet chorus, repeated over and over.
Except when I get to Youngest, she smiles brightly and whispers, “Hi, Mom!”
“Hi, Sweetie!” I whisper back. After a pause I prompt, “Are you supposed to say anything else to me?”
And she smiles brighter.
Without thinking I take a cup, put the bread in my mouth, and move to the railing to kneel next to Middle. Now I am grinning.
And then I remember what I’m supposed to be in the middle of.
Did I prepare my heart properly for communion? I had meant to. And really, is it ever properly prepared? As I hold the tiny plastic cup I admit that it’s not. But that’s what this is all about, isn’t it, the need for grace? I came to the table and was received in love.
As I drink, I thank God with every deepness for this holy moment. For the holy words we expect, and for the others, too—just as holy. For the way the sacred breaks in, even on itself, sideways and unscripted.