Monday, October 23, 2006

Sharing Communion

As we struggle to find life-giving and appropriate ways to understand and practice communion, we can learn much by watching the children among us.

This week as I offered the bread and cup to our 1 1/2 year old member, I was reminded of the simple joy of sharing at table. Taking the bread and dipping it into the cup, she nibbled a piece for herself and then, without hesitation repeated her actions, this time sharing her offering with "Blankie," her beloved friend.

Growing up in a community that values inclusivity and openness at the table, she intimately understood that these gifts of bread and cup are meant to be shared. It is at the table where our community is knit together in the simple act of sharing a meal.

Although simplifying it to this extent does not magically solve any of the theological problematics of communion, it points us in a new direction, away from theologies of death and redemptive violence, toward new interpretations of life and love and sharing. While we may struggle to find adequate theological language to describe what happens at the table, the very practice of breaking bread together communicates a simple message of inclusivity, nurture, celebration and sharing; a message so simple in its actions, that a young child already deeply understands this sacred ritual.

No one is excluded, not even Blankie!

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