Perspectives on the Eucharist

oh, there are dozens and hundreds of theological explanations of the Eucharist–what *exactly* is “happening,” and how and why…  this is not one of those.  this is a reflection on how Jesus can specifically meet a person in the bread & wine of Holy Communion.

this morning, i learned that dear, dear friends of mine are moving about a six-hour plane ride away.  both husband and wife have been so vital to the discernment of my call to ordained ministry that i honestly don’t know where i would be without them (well, without Jesus, of course, but without their willingness to be conduits!).  thinking of their exit makes me tear up; i hope i get over that part at least by the time i see them…

as such, it’s been an emotional day.  i looked forward to going to the week-day Eucharist that the church i’m working at this year hosts every Thursday.  the familiarity of the service is so, so calming.  this particular service is small, usually less than 10 attendees, and held in a chapel that’s covered in carpet, wood and a bit of hewn-stone accent–it feels like a cozy cave (with lovely triangle windows at the top that let you see only the tops of the trees outside).  Not only was the homily about Advent and waiting (someone here is searching for a job post-grad), but Communion was something special today.

as i knelt down and the wafer was placed in my hand with the usual words, it dawned on me that this was exactly the same thing they would do and experience when they went back to England.  they, too, would receive the cup with the same, old proclamation.  we’d be taking and eating and living in Christ, still together, somehow, though we would not live down the street (in walking distance!) from each other anymore.  we would still be tightly knit as God’s children, washed by Jesus’ blood–we will still be one body, because we share one bread and one cup.

this is exactly (one of) the thing(s) that the Eucharist is to remind us of–that we aren’t individuals, and we aren’t divided and we aren’t alone.  we are joined to all Christians throughout space (the whole earth) and throughout time (all of history) in the sacrament of Eucharist.  we all serve the same Lord, and so we are never so far away from each other as we may feel, because we are all part of the same mission.

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