Once we sat down beneath the cathedral ceiling and the beautiful stained glass windows, looking every bit the Catholic church so far as these Buddhist eyes could tell, my son turned and loudly asked:
"Is this for Jesus or the Buddha?"
My little Catholic-Buddhist hybrid revealed himself before mass even started. I couldn't help but think if I ever do manage to get him to the Buddhist temple, he's going to be sorely disappointed. The Catholics and the Episcopalians have the Zen Buddhists soundly beat on pageantry and architecture.
Then when it was time to take communion, the rector announced that anyone could partake, regardless of where they were on their spiritual path. My husband volunteered to take Cracky up to the altar with him.
"Can I go?" my son accepted my husband's suggestion with such zeal it gave me a moment's pause. I knew something was up.
"Wait. Are you even allowed to take communion at your dad's church?" I asked.
Cracky gave me the wide, altar-boy eyes that revealed that Something Was Definitely Up. "I don't know," he said softly, eyes wider.
"You're not supposed to take communion until you finish your catechism classes, are you?" I asked. He just looked at me as if he were utterly baffled at what I said.
The more I thought the more I could imagine a passionate protest from his father that I'd gone behind his back and offered up the host to the boy before he'd jumped through the requisite Catholic hoops.
"I don't know..." my son repeated, same saucer-like eyes full of lies.
"No, I think First Communion is some sort of big deal in the Catholic church. I think you get a party and everything. I think we'd better wait until your dad says it's cool," I said, thankful that I'd caught my religious gaffe before I'd committed it.
My son looked down at the floor with wide, wounded eyes. I'd denied him Christ's flesh and blood and Holy Communion with his god.
But I tell you, the Catholics have marketing down whereas my husband's church could learn a thing or two. The Catholics are the Tom Sawyer of religions. Tell them communion is a big whoop-de-do that they can't do, and brother they want it.
In contrast my husband's church hands the wafer out like candy, like no big deal. I didn't see any little six-year-old Protestants that night all bitter that they couldn't take communion. They were trudging down the aisle to get a bit of cracker before they got to go home and rip open gifts.
Supply and demand, baby. Keep it elusive and you'll have the whole world wanting it.