It’s been a long time since I’ve received the Eucharist. Episcopal churches in Arizona shut down to in-person worship in mid-March, and it looks like we are quite a ways away from being able to worship in person together again. There’s a plan, of course, for when we can gather physically for worship. And while pandemic infection numbers are down, we’re still very early in the process.
One person I know has been attending Roman Catholic liturgies in order to receive the Eucharist. Most of us, though, are worshipping online and gathering virtually via Zoom and other platforms for the opportunity to share news and wrestle together about the issues confronting our society at this time.
The good news, of course, is that we don’t require Eucharist to be connected with God. The Holy Spirit sustains us, a gift from God and a trustworthy guide during both challenging and celebratory times.
I came across a phrase that really caught my attention last week. Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE, wrote that we are “temporal containers of eternal love.” When we take and eat the Eucharist, we become more like what we eat. When we speak words of love instead of hate, we become more like the good news that we have heard. When we reach out to others—yes, usually virtually, but I believe the Spirit can work through electrical and data lines!—we become more fully the body of Christ.
Yes, I would like to be able to return to worship and receive the Eucharist. But I also trust that God’s eternal love is still growing in me, planted and nourished by all the other times I’ve received the Eucharist. I trust that my small daily choices toward love of everyone will help spread that good news. Like Julian of Norwich (the icon pictured here is a recent gift from a friend who created it herself!), I trust that ultimately, all shall be well.
If you are Christian, how are you handling the distance, the lack of Eucharist? Are you able to recognize eternal love, around and within you, during these times?
How are you invited to share eternal love with others—“social” distance notwithstanding?
I think because I live so much in my imagination, I have found it easy to imagine that I am receiving the Eucharist. I’ve done that during the Good Shepherd zoom meetings mainly, but also now and then in other times of prayer or contemplation.
You are very fortunate, Rosana. I can imagine(!) the Holy Spirit with you in your imagining and receiving. Thanks be to God for coming to us in a multitude of ways!