communion within the crowd

I remember picking up a little girl from the kindergarten exit of the elementary school and then walking with her down to wait by the other doors from which her older sister would emerge a few minutes later.

And in this waiting time, there was the gathering of moms and dads and caretakers—the convergence of adults in silence and in greetings and conversations—a general milling around—a steady shifting moving, in the midst of which, my youngest darted into the crowd—most members of which were at least twice her size—darted through the crowd, having spied a little friend from her class and her even littler sister waiting with their mother, too, for an older sibling.

And the three of them plopped themselves down in the grass, the two kindergarteners unzipping their backbacks, extracting their lunch bags, and proceeding to enjoy an impromptu picnic of leftovers.

And keeping one eye on the doors, I watched the small amidst the so much taller until the doors opened, the elementary children were released and the time of waiting transformed into a time of frenetic activity—with greater volume, more excitement and much faster movement. And parents called to children who called to each other, and I watched bemused, in the midst of all this, my small tableau, with three of the smaller people present, oblivious to it all, in the very middle of it all, sitting there serenely together eating half sandwiches and swigging from their thermoses.

What a powerful and somehow poignant image of calm amidst chaos, community amidst confusion, communion within the larger crowd.

May our more liturgical celebrations of communion offer those with eyes to see the same powerful image: of a community consistently gathering amidst the confusion, taking joy in fellowship, receiving sustenance in the bread and the cup—ever amidst the hustle and bustle of movement and noise.

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