Liturgical Dolly's Tea-Parties


I've just finished my pre-Christmas round of home communions, with those who are no longer able, for various reasons, to make it out to church. I use two home communion sets, one which is the natty little pewter number in a zip up bag pictured here, which my previous congregation gave me as a farewell present and a fancy silver-plate one in a polished wooden box which was given to my current congregation in memory of a former member who died young.

I usually take someone else with me on these occasions as it gives a greater sense of the sharing together of Christ's body the church, than if I was there as a representative member on my own, and that is an important element in the idea of coming together in unity, that "com - union" is, in part, supposed to represent... and given that many of these people feel that they have been isolated from the wider church by their age, infirmity or illness, I will do all that I can to emphasise their undiminished place in Christ's body.

However as the three or four of us present gather round one of these sets, appropriately laid out on a small table with a little linen napkin covering the elements, occasionally it seems as if we are participating in the liturgical equivalent of a dolly's tea-party. That image intruded on on my mind a couple of times during proceedings over the past few days... at first it was distracting... And I longed to get back to the origins of communion... breaking bread in one another's houses and sharing in a real meal as well as a remembrance of Christ's sacrifice and the last meal he shared with his friends before that...

But when I reflected on it later, I was much less critical of this dolly's tea-party analogy... Why?

Well, my children are both boys and I have never shared in a dolly's tea-party with them... but I have been forced to do so with friends' daughters in the past and have witnessed a couple of my male friends being made to share in such a repast. And there is something endearing about seeing hulking great rugby players being taught the etiquette of how to drink imaginary tea from thimble sized plastic tea-cups, with little pinkies jutting out, by very serious-minded daughters, sharing the table with an assortment of stuffed toys and ill-dressed dolls...

Such a tea-party is a celebration of love - love of father for daughter and daughter for father...

And that is a fair summation of what we celebrate in these spiritual dolly's tea-parties... With our heavenly Father a loving participant wherever and however his children gather together to remember what his son Jesus gave up for us...

So perhaps next time I'll drink the little glass of wine with my pinkie jutting out...

Comments

lovely thought and to be honest home communion is something I'lm looking forward to. (even though it is still a few years down the road) Robin Waugh brought me with him when he did this for George Watson. It was very special and a thrill and an honour for me to be involved in. A memory I treasure.

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