Devotion for September 29, 2021, from Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer:
Holy Communion – COVID 19 Style!!
It started with this text to my daughter, Kirsten, on Sunday, September 19th:
Pastor Barbara (PB to her daughter): HI! Do you have a little bit of juice I could use for communion? Just a thimble full is needed. 🙂
Kirsten (K): Eek. Let me look!
PB: Oh, in a wineglass?
[Some context – I was preparing Zoom worship from the deck of my daughter’s home in Pacific Grove. I was recuperating from a bad cold (not Covid!) by isolating myself in a little apartment they have downstairs. We needed to text so that she and the family didn’t catch my cold. The text continues….]
K: Got it. Will look…..No juice…..Ira is offering to smash some real grapes, maple syrup, yogurt drink or water with food coloring…..I have a no stem, clear wine glass.
PB: That will work!!!! Thank you!
K: I’m apparently very unprepared for home church!
K: I have some pink powdered drink stuff? Red jello? Red sanitizer? Oh!! Cough syrup! It’ll kill two birds with one stone!
PB: Lol! Pink is perfect!
K: Popcorn topping!!
PB: Lol!!! I can’t stand it!!!!
K: Should I leave it upstairs on the deck?
PB: Sure. Thank you, honey!
K: Oh, no! It’s raining! Everything is wet!
PB: Oh, my goodness! Of COURSE it’s raining! I love it! I’ll sit under the roof by the heater. It’ll work.
K: With this background? Aaaaaaaa…..
And on it went….. Now, if I had read this not so long ago, I would have been deeply concerned that a pastor could be so light-hearted about the elements of our Lord’s Supper. I have always and still do cherish the reverence with which our altar care members set up the Sacrament of Holy Communion, as well as sharing the bread and cup. Now, because of the constraints of a Pandemic, I freely gather the elements in joy!
Many things have changed, but we get to DO this! We get to celebrate Jesus’ real presence in our lives in such an expansive way! We can be miles apart, we can be all alone or with others, we can be in the sanctuary or on the deck, yet we are all at the table, including our pets. And Jesus meets us – every time!
The Eucharist has been a choreographed dance of quiet joy. Now it is unrehearsed, with adaptations in every space, a more spontaneous dance. And – praise be to God! – through it, God still lifts our hearts, sustains our spirits, and strengthens our faith. Whether we have pink powdered drink stuff or the finest wine, a tortilla or Wonder Bread, we are fed and nourished by the real presence of Jesus Christ. In the midst of a really hard time, this meal we can enjoy to the fullest! Thanks be to God!
In Christ, Pastor Barbara