The unvoiced linguolabial trills of the Eucharist (in which a baby blows raspberries while I take, eat, and remember)

The sounds of silence (Photo: CKirgiss)
The sounds of silence (Photo: CKirgiss)

Yesterday morning, in preparation for partaking of the Lord’s Supper, the congregation was invited to be still and know that He is God. I adore being still and knowing. My soul delights in stillness, silence, and peace, so I gladly partook of these before partaking of the bread and wine.

While I intently invited God to examine my heart and expose my soul (which He always does to a degree that I am rarely prepared for) – while I meditated on the grace-filled miracle of the Cross (which is astounding in its depth of humility and love) – while I focused on the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed for the likes of even me (which is so far beyond deserved that I sometimes cannot fully grasp its reality) – the still and peaceful silence was cast aside by the babe three rows back who understandably has no understanding of still and peaceful silence but certainly does understand the joy of being fully alive.

A babe’s way to celebrate the joy of being fully alive has little to do with still and peaceful silence (unless he sleeps). Rather, a babe’s way to celebrate the joy of being fully alive is to coo and gurgle and giggle and blow continuous raspberries (also known as “unvoiced linguolabial trills” for those who care about that kind of thing) until his tongue and lips give out. Which doesn’t happen often (the giving out, that is).

I think perhaps I heard the young mother stifle a giggle or two in response to her child’s version of silent reflection. I stifled a giggle or two of my own, not to express judgmental silence (as so often happens between grown-ups and children) but rather to create expansive uncluttered space for everyone to enjoy the coos and gurgles and giggles and blown raspberries – for those were the sounds of angel choirs and deserved to be heard in all their fullness.

I think perhaps those babe sounds coming from three rows behind me were the most beautiful and sacred Eucharistic sounds I have experienced in a very long time, in part because of their joyfully pure energy, in part because of the reminder that the Savior, fully divine and willingly broken for the sins of all, was once a cooing, gurgling, giggling, raspberry blowing babe himself, a babe within which God in all his fullness was pleased to dwell.

Because of that pleased indwelling, I, the cooing babe behind me, the congregation around me, and the souls of all who do, have, and will ever live – we all of us can be forgiven, made new, made complete, filled with Christ who himself is filled with the fullness of God.

The babe behind me may not fully fathom this mystery, but he can indeed fully celebrate it. Amen.

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