It’s elemental

In response to some ideas that surfaced in the Pastoral Search Committee’s small-group listening sessions, the Worship Committee is considering whether Nativity should go back to passing the plates with Communion elements during worship.

I could go either way.

           It feels special to me to be able to hand worshipers their tiny cube of bread, one by one, and remind them that this is Christ’s body, broken for them. I’m imagining it might feel the same for the deacons who are offering the cup. It’s a holy moment, and as pastor, it feels personally holy in each brief interaction.

Partly that’s out of sheer proximity. But also, people tell pastors a lot of things. It’s a privilege to be let into their lives, even in a small way. And that human connection makes the sharing of Communion all the richer. Your called pastor will come to love you and learn you in just the same way.

On the other hand (said the octopus), Communion isn’t meant to be a one-on-one experience. The New Testament sets the scene for us: Jesus with his disciples, all of them around one table. He blesses bread and passes it among them; he blesses wine and passes it among them. They share; they eat and drink. And that, too, is special – to be able to feed one another, and to know in a very real way that we are one as the Body of Christ, the church.

To my mind, something real and powerful happens no matter how the meal is shared. In the church I grew up in, Mountain Rise UCC in Fairport, the tradition was that kids couldn’t receive Communion until they were confirmed. So it had that forbidden-fruit, rite-of-passage flavor that made me wish for it all the more.

Maybe that’s part of the specialness of the sacrament for me even now. It feels important to do this thing in remembrance of Christ. It’s not just talk, like a sermon or a prayer. The very physicality of Communion is central to its meaning.

I have no dog in this fight, but maybe you do. Keep on coming forward for the bread and the cup? Or pass them through the congregation? I know the Worship Committee would be glad to hear your opinions, either in the comments here or when you buttonhole a committee member in person.

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