Closing our church buildings and moving our worship online has without doubt caused many of us to reflect on the place and the significance of communion in our lives and our faith, either because we have been denied it, or because we have participated differently.
I long for that day when we will celebrate the Eucharist together again as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. The day when our church buildings will reverberate with the joyful noise of praise, as liturgy and music draw us into the mystery of God’s love. That day will come, but it is not now, and its coming will be not a blinding flash, but a dawning light and a still small voice.
I long for that day indeed, but in longing for what will be, it is also crucial that we do not forget the gift of the present moment. We may not be able to gather as we once did and as we will again, but we are still a Eucharistic people. It may be that in this time we come to know that truth more deeply the truth of what we pray.
The Eucharist is by its nature a place of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the work of God in creation. A place where we remember how even though we have rebelled, again and again, God draws us into a covenant of grace. A place, where as we watch for the signs of the Kingdom, we echo the song of the angels in heaven. A place where, as bread is broken and wine shared, we see how Jesus shows us the way of salvation, embracing our humanity . We proclaim the death that he suffers, and we celebrate his resurrection, his bursting from the tomb, and we rejoice that he reigns on high. (Words from Eucharistic Prayer F)
We are a Eucharistic people, rooted in worship but not simply ‘in church’. The Eucharist sends us out to live in the everyday as citizens of heaven, confident in the one who conquers death and shatters darkness with resurrection light.
Please join me as we pray especially this week for all who have lost their lives to this pandemic, for their families and all who love and mourn them. Bishop Rachel and I will be praying for you and those who you love. May God’s love and life embrace us all as we seek to live as Eucharistic people. A people of hope for a suffering world.