Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Unfenced Tables

This last Sunday, as I served up the Eucharist, I found myself presented with what for some pastors would be a bit of a dilemma. The elder who was serving the Lord's Supper with me had in her charge an insanely cute two year old. She was endearing, and totally working it...but by two year old standards, she was surprisingly well behaved. When the time came for communion, she had to tag along with us as we served up the bread and the Welches.

As the line came to an end and the congregation had partaken of the elements, she wanted some too. She held her hand out. Not demanding or snitty or imperious in that I'm-Two-And-The-Universe-Revolves-Around-Me sort of way. She was just asking.

So we gave her some. We did the dipping for her, and she ate.

This, of course, would mortify many Jesus people. She's a tiny child! Little better than an infant! She has no idea what she's doing!

Did she comprehend what was going on? I'd doubt it. Then again, I'm not sure how many of my congregants entirely grasp the conceptual foundations of the Eucharist. The distinctions between the Aristotelean substantive approach, the Zwinglian mnemonic understanding, and the Reformed pneumatocentric model aren't often topics of my sermons, and my efforts to impose a multiple choice clearance test at each Lord's Supper just made the worship way too long.

Then again, I'm not sure any of us totally grasp what's going on with the Eucharist. It's something we take on faith, with the same kind of hopeful trust that that tiny one showed last Sunday.