The Chalice Bearer

A RIPPLE OF ENERGY surged through the children when they saw the new chalice bearer Sunday. The time came for our row to take communion. Buck, the three little ones and I walked single file together, then kneeled at the rail.

The children were so excited, I feared they might break ranks and do somersaults over the communion rail right in front of God, the rector and the crowded church. But they stayed put, their small hands cupped. Even the rector’s eyes were twinklier than usual as he pressed wafers individually into our uplifted hands, saying “The Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven.”

The radiant new chalice bearer smiled deeply into our eyes as she offered the cup, saying, “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation,” her voice low and clear.

The littlest child, sandwiched between Buck and me, dipped her wafer into the wine, then popped it into her mouth. As the chalice bearer drew back to move on to Buck, the little one reached out with both arms and clutched the sleeves of her white robe. “Mommy,” she breathed, her golden hair and baby chick yellow nubby top bathing her in a halo of light.

The chalice bearer’s Dad, the other two children and I looked on, pure love reflected and refracted in this moment between mother and child.

Later, I said to this same little one, “Isn’t your Mommy beautiful?”

“No,” she replied. “She’s not beautiful.”

Her words surprised me. “She’s not?”

“No. She’s gorrr-juss.”

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