Yesterday we had a party at church. Seven young people made their first communions. In our church first communion isn’t the big sacramental deal it is with our sisters and brothers in the Roman Catholic tradition. They have been taking communion for a long time already, since for us the only official rite of initiation to the Holy Table is baptism, and even that isn’t universal. First Communion is a moment when we recognize that these young people have received enough instruction in the faith to participate in an intentional way rather than simply coming to the rail because their parents bring them (which has its own rationale.) We finished it in fine style with a parish hall full of people and enough good food for everyone to take some home with them.
Party—fiesta: Not merely an excuse to eat good food and hang out together. We don’t really need an excuse for that. Fiesta is a social recognition of an important event. In many way, life has two speeds: autopilot and intention. Just as the liturgical rite recognizes that communion for these kids is no longer expected to be on autopilot, neither is the meal we celebrate afterwards. This is not just fueling the body, it is intentionally sharing life around a table, fueling relationships new and old. It takes a lot of work, but it deepens and broadens life. Fiesta is a celebration of breadth and depth.
I think we need to party more!