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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks


Communion is one of those things that varies widely in different denominations, even in different churches within the same denomination.

It is called different names: the Lord’s Supper, communion, Eucharist, Holy Mass, sacrament, Breaking of Bread, and I’m sure there are many others.

Some churches perform this ritual every week; some perform it every month, and some churches even have a system so complicated for organizing the Lord's Supper that it reverts back to a Julian calendar and an abacus.

Everything that could possibly differ does. Some churches use wafers while others use bread. Some use intinction while others offer small cups. Some use real wine while others use grape juice.

None of that should matter as long as the intention is right. It is a solemn ritual that is entered into with a solemn attitude. When Madi was little and partook for the first time, I was so happy and maybe a little concerned. Was she too young to understand? Certainly. Had I done something wrong?  I wasn’t sure.  The church I had grown up in did not allow anyone to partake unless they had been baptized and I believe they had to be a member of that church although I’m not sure of that last part.

I wasn’t sure how all of that washed out with Methodists so I asked the preacher. He said that with his own kids, the only thing he worried about was if they were old enough not to choke on the bread. He said he would rather err on the side of inclusion instead of exclusion, and that has always stuck with me.

Today I witnessed the best case of inclusivity I have ever seen. St Francis holds communion on the first Sunday of each month, but this month we did things differently. Normally we form a line and receive bread and wine when we reach the servers at the front. Today we knelt at the altar, and the stewards came around and served us as we knelt. I had returned to my seat when the occurrence happened so I had a perfect view.

A little boy approached the altar alone. He was all of five or six years old. I think his parents must have been helping. He positioned himself to receive the bread. The server stopped him and showed him how to dip the bread into the juice.

In the movement of people coming and going, I saw him position himself a couple of spots over and receive bread again. I saw this happen several times. The stewards started picking up on what was happening. And here’s the cool part – even though this little boy consumed enough bread and juice to constitute a hearty breakfast, not one single person chastised him or withheld from him.

At one point, a man who is not related, was kneeling at the altar, and he put his arm around the boy and tucked him in under his wing. They stayed this way for the remaining few minutes of the service. I can’t help but think there was a lot more of God‘s love in the feeding and inclusion of that little boy than there would have been in scolding him.

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Mar 04


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