This is a lovely post from Shannon Huffman Polson over on Patheos. Go read it now. But come back.
The story certainly speaks to discussions we have had in our house, and our feeling that children should never be excluded from God’s table (our former priest Christopher Martin said something similar to her bishop, along the lines of, “I never want there to be a time in my son’s life when he doesn’t remember being fully included as part of the Body of Christ”).
Another reason I often state for communing children is in response to the protest that “they can’t fully understand” what’s happening (also given re: baptism). The simple answer to that is: “Who does?”
I mean really, if you can tell me you fully grasp everything God is doing through the sacraments, you are a stronger theologian than me. And if Jesus really did ask us all to approach the kingdom “like a little child”, then perhaps we adults are the ones who should be holding back and waiting, watching for their instruction on properly entering the mystery.
Polson’s story also harkens back to one of the greatest moments this past Lent for me, when my two year old son ate his communion cracker, then promptly stated (loudly): “I’m still hungry!”
Indeed. How often has that been true for many of us?
And not just spiritually speaking, though we could go on forever about that. Why aren’t we physically satiated by this meal?
Polson’s son is hungry and she waxes rhapsodic about fulfilling his hunger at the altar rail. Only that doesn’t work. Not if her son is anything like mine. A thin wafer ain’t gonna do it.
This past weekend we missed a talk about intentional eating at our church, and later our priest was filling us in and told us he was surprised that people weren’t connecting the meal we eat on Sundays with the act of eating.
But I’m not. Because today’s Eucharist is no longer a meal. It in no way resembles food. That wafer is what I fondly call a Liturgical Prop. Even if you’re one of the lucky folks in a church that bakes weekly – still I ask: does the King of kings feed us only bread, as if we were slaves and not his beloved children?
So until there is more up there – until there is actually a meal to our meal, a feast element to the feast elements – then my son, and Polson’s, and the rest of us…we will probably stay hungry.