Balloons on the Communion Table


‘There’s a sign-up sheet on the communion table for next week’s BBQ,’ Duncan told us as he introduced the service this morning.

He pointed at the table, pushed back against the wall. I looked at it, and that act of looking was, for me, the most significant moment in the service.

On the communion table, I saw (i) four folder offering bags (ii) at least three sign-up sheets (iii) a pot of felt-tipped pens (iv) a packet of balloons (v) six or seven brightly-coloured inflated balloons. And beneath the communion table there was a red plastic box marked ‘Toddlers’ Toys’ full of what looked like cheerfully loud toy percussion instruments.

The balloons and the percussion instruments were for Phil’s talk to the kids. He asked them , in line with this morning’s theme ‘Praise the Lord!’ what they thought we could praise the Lord for. ‘The World’; ‘Food’; ‘Friends and families.’  Phil wrote each of these reasons for praise, and several others  on a balloon. (There was so much to praise God for that Elaine was roped in to blow up still more balloons.’

Then the kids dispersed the balloons throughout the congregation. If one came your way, you had to loudly read what it said, before chucking it vaguely in someone else’s direction. And so the church was full of noisy praise. And that wasn’t all – Chris then taught us a new song by Matthew Todd.

Balloons on the communion table? And money bags? And felt tip pens?

I suspect some people might have concerns about such a table being used for such a purpose. After all isn’t the table – which bears on communion days the bread and wine which remind us of the costly death of Jesus  - isn’t the table holy? Isn’t it desecration to clutter it with everyday stuff?

But I think that balloons on the communion table – and everything else it was cluttered with this morning – is a wonderful symbol of the fact that the whole of life is holy, that in the whole of life we can say Yes, Yes and Yes again to the God who loves.

Think what all  the stuff on the table symbolises. Joy, gratitude, praise, fun, community, creativity, costly giving, service.  And all these things pulse with holiness as we remember that we are God’s beloved people.  For Jesus, the whole of life was holy.

Balloons on the communion table? A reminder to us to allow the whole of our lives to be imbued with the loveliness of God in the coming week


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