So, M...'s been sick for a couple weeks, and I haven't let her drink from the chalice at church. This morning at the altar rail she asks, "Mom, can I have salvation this morning?"M. is her daughter, who turns seven this Friday. Reading this was, for me, one of those luminous moments when the veil that divides Heaven and Earth is exquisitely thin.
If you know the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer, it's not difficult to see where she got the language of her petition. For longer than this child can remember, she has drunk from the chalice while hearing the words, "The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation." Hence ... can I have salvation this morning?
Of course, M. was saying more than she knows. I suspect that she also knows more than she can say. (Shameless plug: This little girl has been formed for the past two years in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.) And I thank her mother for sharing this precious moment. We all stand in need of being reminded just what it is we're doing every time we stretch our hands across a communion rail. We are, implicitly, asking, "Can I have salvation this morning?" And the answer, unfailingly, is ... Yes.