Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sacred Table

I was surrounded with sacredness tonight.

It was early evening and I was sitting on a hard bench in a beautiful, historic Anglican Church in Winnipeg at St. Benedict's Table.

I sat near the front, surrounded by soulful music, people I love, dim lights and the flicker of candles.  Behind me sits an adolescent boy with autism.  He has a service dog with him and he's busy coloring, ripping paper apart, waving his arms and moving around during the course of the service.  None of this bothers me.  In fact, it comforts me and reminds me that the table of God has ample room and lots of space for all of us.

The liturgy was nearly finished when Jamie made his call for the open communion they celebrate at St. Ben's.
"Behold what you are.  Become what you receive..." his words begin.
"For those who know Him or those want to know Him more....", they continue.

(For the record, I usually feel I'm more in the category of "those who want to know Him more".)

I go up with Mike, making a circle with strangers and friends to receive the bread and sip from the communal cup.  I stand quietly, serenely, and I wait.  The morsel of bread is handed to me gently - "The body of Christ, broken for you".  I take it and chew it slowly and deliberately.

The cup is making the rounds,  handed to each one in the circle, then carefully wiped clean for the next person in the circle - "The blood of Christ, shed for you".  I hold the cup and sip the wine, then walk away and take my place in the wooden pew I came from.

As the procession of people makes their way to the front of the church for their turn at the table, the teenager with autism stands in the circle.  He flaps his arms wildly as  the bread approaches.  He is eager for his bread - can hardly stand the wait to get it into his hands.  As it's broken and passed to him he grabs it and throws it into his mouth as though his life depended on it.

The cup comes close to him now.  The wild arm flapping begins again, together with excited sounds and feverish anticipation.  The cup comes close and he grabs it with both hands, throws his head back with reckless abandon and chugs it down.  Not a sip or just a taste on the lips.  Full gulps.  Quenched thirst.

He not only really tasted it, he thoroughly enjoyed it.

In the midst of all the liturgy, the scripture, the homily, the ringing of the bells, the lighting of the candles and the music, it was the flapping arms - the aggressive chewing of bread, and the gulping of wine before me in which I found the most sacred moment.

"For those who now Him and those who want to know Him more...."?

I want to know Him like that.


  1. That's so awesome! You wrote that so nicely and so visually as if I was there with you, well, done Karla.

  2. This is so beautiful...just beautiful.

  3. Karla, I too have tears. I know it doesn't take much to get me there, but how BEAUTIFUL! Thanx