From the Rector
Communion and Connection
Dear Calvary Parishioners,
It has been well over three months since COVID-19 began to shut down our normal way of life. One of the most stunning closures for me as a priest and I believe for many of you as faithful church members was the closure of the Communion Altar.
What we share when we gather and celebrate Bread and Wine made holy is central to our identity as Christians. Consecration is a core part of my identity as a priest. Fasting from our normal weekly spiritual sustenance is hunger-inducing. We are hungry for connection. We are hungry for transformation from death into life that the Sacrament of Eucharist provides.
Some of you have asked, “Can you just say the Eucharistic Prayer online?”
I have given this a lot of thought, as has our bishop. The whole point of Holy Eucharist is not to receive something for ourselves for spiritual sustenance alone. When we gather together, as one body, receiving one bread and one cup, that togetherness is at the heart of transformation.
There’s a reason why we make a common Confession and say the Peace before receiving the Eucharist in a place where we are in full sight of one another. It is so we can say one to another, “I am forgiven. I forgive you. God forgives us. We are at peace with one another. And so we am open to the transformation that now happens when we are together here and continues when we disperse to go out into the world.”
We need that common, shared experience of transformation that gets us to the heart of the Eucharistic Feast. Anything else has the danger of making our bread and wine an idol or element of mere consumer satisfaction.
One of our newer parishioners, Rebecca Smithorn, has expressed to me her hope that our fasting from Eucharist will drive us deeper into connection one with another outside the walls of the church. She has offered to “meet others” at her dining table on Wednesdays in June. I attended last week with bread and wine in hand and found a place where I could pray, examine our hearts, and be thankful with others. We shared in the non-sacramental prayers of the Agape Feast. We just took 20 minutes to pray and share at our respective tables, but we left with full hearts.
(If you are interested in taking part, on Wednesdays from 6:30 - 6:50 PM, Rebecca’s “virtual table” is open. Just e-mail me at
and I will connect you Rebecca's leadership of this time of prayer.)
Episcopal priest Suzanne Guthrie urges us to recall our moments past when we were able to be bodily present to one another, and through our intentional Eucharistic feast of being in the Presence of God:
If God were living in a tabernacle in a church only, I would never leave church. Liturgy lets me linger with the thought of Presence, then pushes me out the door with the insistent dismissal to seek and serve God elsewhere, that is, in the places most difficult to perceive Divine Love.
Some day in the future, we will gather around that Holy Table again. Until then, perhaps we will draw deep and start to perceive Christ showing up in the places we least expect Him.