Sitting in the lovely chapel listening to the priest read scripture about all being welcome at the table of God, I felt warm and at home. My eyes followed along with the bulletin to this place:
"Everyone is invited to come forward today. If you are in a communion of faith practice with the Catholic Church, come forward in the usual way to receive the Sacred Bread. If you are a guest, you bless this assembly with your presence. We wish to bless you in return. When you come to the minister, place your hand over your heart to indicate that you wish a blessing." (emphasis my own)
A blessing, but no elements. My heart and thoughts stopped to consider those words. The table is open to everyone and for everyone except when it's not. I was reminded of a child looking through a bakery window at warm fresh bread and delectable pastries– an urchin child hungering for sustenance who will be offered a kind pat on the head rather than a belly-filling meal.
Fortunately, I am not an urchin child. I am a child of God (just like you), well-loved who knows that Mother (or Father) God has fed me well and received me as whole. She will wipe the hunger away and I am no less special because the priest would not put the wafer on my tongue or the wine to my lips. Experiencing my inner smile, I laugh at the silliness of humans thinking they can control where or how God gets doled out. Hmmmm...
A few more thoughts about 'helping out God' can be found at Dreams and Visions.
Lastly, I realize that many of my readers come from a Catholic tradition. Please understand it is not my intent to malign any tradition, but rather to consider the impact of exclusionary rites. I hope all might ponder this alongside me. The service was quite lovely and the presence of God was palpable. I was indeed blessed - elements or not. And, this vision of standing outside the bakery did leave me feeling set aside and not so very welcome.
I wonder where in my life I leave others standing outside the bakery window. Again, I invite you to ponder this alongside me.
teddy bear table taken in Paris 3.08