Sunday, August 12, 2007

An Emotional Moment

It's the practice at Trinity Parish to communicate children who are baptized whenever they first reach for the Body as long as their parents agree. Well, today I had the experience of that happening. A toddler, call him Thomas (not his real name) is about 18 months old or so and this week just started learning to walk. Today at the Communion Rail I was all set to give Thomas a blessing, as I usually do. He had a big grin on his face and appeared to be reaching for the Host I was holding up for his dad, who had him in his arms. I looked at Todd (also not his real name) , Thomas's father, and asked him in a look if I should give Thomas the Host, Todd whispered yes, and so I had the joyful and very powerful experience of giving Communion to a Christian for the very first time. I have to tell you, I was more than a bit overtaken by the moment. I felt honored and privileged to be present at such a momentous occasion. I pray that Thomas will always reach for the Sacrament with joy, and will come again and again to the Table to be nourished and strengthened by it.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

RFSJ

4 comments:

Maria Diarrhea said...

I thought only those who had reached their First Communion could get the host. Or is that a tradition in Catholicism? (Sorry, I'm just trying to learn all the differences, having been raised Catholic...) Maria :-)

RFSJ said...

Maria,

You're right, that's a Catholic thing. The Episcopal Church doesn't have a formal First Communion service or rite. We hold that anyone who is baptized, including infants and toddlers, is a full member of the Body of Christ and as such, is entitled to receive Communion whenever each person feels moved to do so.

We do have a Rite of Confirmation, which is a person's public affirmation of one's baptismal vows witnessed and confirmed (hence the name!) in the presence of a Bishop with the laying on of hands. Unlike the Lutherans, we don't withhold the Eucharist until a person is confirmed, however.

The Baptismal Covenant is on page 304 and 305 of the Book of Common Prayer, and the Confirmation Eucharist begins on p. 413. There are a number of online versions at
http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Other_1979.htm

Hope that helps!

RFSJ

Maria Diarrhea said...

Yes, thanks! :-)

Troglodyteus said...

How beautiful.

Troglodyteus