There’s a story to tell, but I’m not sure how to tell it, so bear with me while a fumble for the image. First, smell the incense. It’s just barely there. You don’t notice it unless you close your eyes, but you must smell it first, that is important. Then, hear the music. Four-part harmony, immaculately sung by a thirty person choir, an organ, a reverent and traditional hymn. The communion lines are forming. There are ten priests flanking the bishop, and they disperse to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ. One of them is an old priest, and he is out of place, first at one side of the altar, then at another. He has the Blood of Christ, but there is no altar rail, no one kneels, a teenager walks up and reaches out, and out of place, looking around for the social cue, trying to fit in, the old priest matches his peers and casually hands the Blood of God to the teenager, who takes it in one hand, swallows a sip, and returns it before walking away. Watch the old priest, see him, see his eyes glaze over as he passes the wine (maybe it is really just wine?) to a procession that seems never to end, until the last person, a young woman, in a sudden burst of puckish reverence, kneels to receive the Blood. The soul returns to the old priest’s eyes, she drinks the Blood of God, and she returns to her pew laughing at her mischief. The old priest returns to his place beside the bishop.

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13 October 2019