Why do we need the Eucharist? Why should we take Holy Communion? It’s a weird thing to do, isn’t it. Here, have a morsel of bread with a strange phrase—“The body of Christ, given for you.” Ew. Then comes a cup of wine. You can have one—just one!—sip. And please do just keep it a sip, not a swallow or a gulp. And more weird words: “The blood of Christ, shed for you.” What is this? Vampires? Cannibals? Weirdos? In our church we stand in a circle around a table. If you look too closely, you’ll notice that everything is a little beat up; all the doors have gouges and chips, the altar is missing some corners. Maybe the people look like they’ve seen some wear and tear, too, except the little kids who can’t seem to sit still. But nobody freaks out when someone says, “The blood of Christ.” No one tries to run a decontamination protocol. No one seems to change that much. Once in a while someone might cry. Some people might close their eyes. But what is this?
It’s weird because Holy Communion is holy. Holiness is weird. It isn’t normal. But at Holy Communion we see the holiness becoming normal, forming us, habituating us to the presence of God. Our God has broken down any wall between the sacred and the profane, and the moment of holy communion, no matter if Lucy has blown out the candles or the pastor is confused about who hasn’t had bread yet or whether or not your frame of mind is perfectly squared and adjusted, the moment of holy communion is holy. God is there. In our midst. In the bread. In the wine. Christ is present. Just let that be. Let that sink in. Believe it. That’s all we have to do, and really, it’s far more than enough.
This week for BBQ Book Club, we’re reading A Stranger in the Village. I thought Baldwin was writing about Greenwich Village, but he wasn’t, as you will find out at this link. [LINK]
See you soon,