It is a holy moment. It almost always is. At the heart of the worship area the long banqueting table, covered by a shimmering purple-blue cloth, is set. In the centre is the platter with a large flat loaf resting on a mound of red grapes.
Once the Eucharistic bread and wine have been consecrated, the children will flock to take their seats at the banquet. Each child will be given a hunk of loaf followed by a handful of grapes. They will be reminded by name that Jesus loves them, that he died for them, that he is with them always and everywhere.
The children are not receiving Holy Communion. They have not gone through a preparation course although at least once a year they all explore the meaning of Holy Communion. Their parents may stay with them if they are very young but this is essentially a ”˜children only’ experience. Prior to his retirement, Bishop Peter appreciated the banquet when he visited us.
The Eucharistic banquet is rich in symbolism and meaning for these children and for the whole church at St Paul’s Finchley. Let me explain!