Several years ago, when I was in the process of transferring my ordination from United Methodist to Lutheran, I was not permitted to consecrate the elements of communion during worship. I was able to distribute. At first it was difficult to accept. I missed the words of consecration and the lifting of the elements during worship. For about two years, I prayed that God would use my hands to serve and that the Spirit of God would work through me. I focused on my outstretched hands upon which the pattern of wafers was placed by my colleague. I concentrated on the words “The body of Christ given for you” as I circulated around the altar and offered bread to each attendee. I opened myself to the Spirit. I discovered that my heart opened to the task of serving. The promise of God was revealed in the task of distribution. When my work with the Board of Ordained Ministry was accepted and the transfer of my ordination was complete, the joy was indescribable when I could once again say the great thanksgiving.
During the time of COVID, it has been like the period that I just mentioned. I don’t think I have ever been without the eucharist meal for this long. It seems strange. It is probably the same for you; strange and disorienting.
Although the sacraments of baptism and communion are signs of God’s promises and grace, during this time God reveals God’s promises and grace in several ways. In the reading of scripture, especially the Psalms, we often hear “I am with you to the end of the age,” “I am with you always”, “I am the rock of your salvation, steadfast and sure.” All these words of assurance remind us that God is with us in many ways. Through our prayers, the study and reading of scripture, in the preparation of each family meal, God is there. When we awaken to a new day, God reveals to us another opportunity to love and serve God.
We continue to fast from this sacred meal that is central to the body of Christ. It looks like it will be a while longer. This time of waiting gives us more opportunities to watch for signs of God’s promises and grace fulfilled daily while we continue to care of ourselves and each other.
Peace & prayers,