I didn't grow up in a church that celebrated communion each week. It was a monthly practice usually, "because we don't want it to become common." When the basket full of broken crackers reached me, I took one and held it in my lap. When the juice tray was passed, I took it gingerly and full of trepidation, sure I would upend it with one clumsy move and spill the blood of Jesus down my dress and across the aisle. I waited to partake of both, waited for the minister up front to solemnly say, "Take and eat. Do this in remembrance of me." And the whole auditorium would move, as one, in a silent ritual that seemed to me both holy and mundane.
Despite the fact that it was only once a month, it was still common to me. An ordinary thing we did, part of the rhythm of my life.
I was young, so I don't condemn my memories. I didn't have the depth to appreciate the mystery. And mystery isn't perceived by looking at the surface. You have to have eyes to see.
Sunday was communion Sunday for my church family, and in our gathering, no trays are passed. Instead, we walk forward to receive the body and blood from the hands of our brothers and sisters.
The band played an earthy "Nothing But The Blood" as The Church lined up to remember. Teenagers in hoodies and sweat pants shuffled next to grandparents in suits and sweater sets. A young mother swayed in the line, a tiny head cradled in the crook of her arm. White. Black. Asian. Latino. The residents of a group home walked forward with jerks and crooked limbs and smiles that went from side to side. The pure in heart. And I couldn't stop the tears and my soul sang, "How beautiful you are, Lord. How beautiful you are."
Near the end, I slipped into the line, with Corey and Natalie, and I took a shard of bread from from one of my sisters who looked me in the eye and said, "This is the body of Christ, broken for you." And I dipped it in the cup held out to me by another sister, and she smiled at me and said, "The blood of Christ, shed for you, Kelly." And I took and ate and wept and was made whole.
I still don't understand the mystery. But I no longer need to. The blessing of age is knowing glory is most at home in the common, if you have eyes to see.