Each year at this time, the first communicants make their appearance in our church. The boys in their ties, the girls in white dresses, grandparents beaming with delight, parents struggling with their new camera — all signs of another group of children making this rite of passage.
For the past twenty winters, my wife Barbara has volunteered with the sacramental preparation team as they present the “Come Join us at the Table” program for the children and their parents. The planning begins in early autumn, followed by a parents’ information meeting. In late January, the six-session program proceeds, regardless of the weather and the many commitments everyone has. As the big date approaches, the excitement level rises and spreads from the children to the adults as surely as the colds they bring home from school.
On that special Sunday, the child’s family and friends arrive to witness the important moment: grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, regular church-goers and the unchurched, the formal and the casual, the bored and the attentive.
And so the seeds of renewal are sown each spring: communion with the Lord, communion with the family, communion with the welcoming community.