“Social distanced”, “masked”, “sanitized”: these are not the words we would normally associate with communion. Communion is shoulder to shoulder, kneeling at the altar rail, filling in each open spot, receiving bread, drinking from a shared cup, and praying quietly.
On Sunday we had 34 people in church. That’s the largest congregation since March of 2020 when the pandemic shutdown closed our worship. This Sunday, we had to figure out how, with social distancing and masks to do communion, so I invited everyone to gather in a loose circle around the altar. Not quite shoulder to shoulder, but together none-the-less, and we received communion with the familiar words, “The body of Christ, the bread of heaven.”
It’s hard because it is so different, but it is also the same familiar, loving act of participating in the reality of Christ present in a worshipping, praying community. As I gave a communion to one person (she knows who she is!) she jokingly said, “I want one of the big wafers.” I loved her playful expression because it captured the joy of being together, even though it is different. It is the same table, the same Christ, and the same sacrament of loving participation.