Dear Beloved Community at CCSM,
It was fitting that yesterday, for worldwide communion Sunday, we celebrated our first “Zoom” communion for those in our congregation who were gathered online. On worldwide communion Sunday, most Christians around the world celebrate communion together. Some churches celebrate every week and others only a couple of times each year, so the idea behind worldwide communion is that on this day, we all know that we are celebrating together. This reminds us that we are one church with all people around the world, each gathering in their own way and their own place yet united as one in love and solidarity.
In our own community at CCSM, we have people who gather in-person and others who gather online, from their homes or other places, both locally and all around the world. And, a very special moment in communion is when the ministers or those serving communion have a moment with each person as they receive their elements. It is a moment of honoring each person’s individuality, of serving and being served, making eye contact, saying a person’s name, perhaps offering a personal prayer or blessing. Even as it is a communal meal, we all partake in our own way. It can be a moment of being seen and deeply connecting through the act of giving and receiving - nourishing and being nourished.
To facilitate this moment for those gathered online, we invited people to log onto Zoom after the communion liturgy. People came in batches and, in all, about 20 people participated this way. It was an incredible blessing for me to have a personal moment with each person - to say their name, to bless the food and drink they held up on screen, and to invite them to share in the meal with the others who were present at the same time. A few people asked for special prayers for particular needs. One person commented that the person who appeared next to them on Zoom was someone they used to often sit next to in the pew in the sanctuary. And there they were again, sitting together and sharing in communion in a “digital pew.”
Attending church online can be relatively anonymous. And that can be just what some people need at some points in life. But it is also a blessing to be known and to be seen, to be offered a meal and a blessing and to really know that there are others out there partaking from their own corners of the world. I give thanks for the technologies that allow us to see and hear one another and connect throughout time and space. And I give thanks for the blessing it was to tangibly experience deeply spiritual truths: the love of God knows no boundaries of time or space, we are one body, and we are truly never alone.
P.S. Check out Penny's sermon on Reimagining Jesus and don't miss next week as Jorge talks about reconciling relationships that have been broken during the pandemic.