I grew up in a tradition where we had communion once a month. Some months it was powerful, some months it was perfunctory, but every month, I tried to make it. I noticed as I grew up, I felt when I had missed communion Sunday. It mattered.
As I considered ministry, I found myself going to multiple churches on the weekend. I was searching for something. I was connected to a community, but I also felt an absence. And as I entered seminary, I realized what it was. I was searching for Eucharist. I started having it multiple times a week, and as I became Episcopalian I found joy in having it as part of my Sunday morning worship. Some Sundays I’m tired, I’m not feeling particularly sociable, I’d really like one more jolt of caffeine, but I come. I come for this.
The Eucharist to me is more than a prayer, bread, and wine. In it, Jesus dwells among us. Jesus becomes incarnate, made flesh, in us. The bread and wine take on the Spirit, and the Spirit is ingested, moving throughout our bodies, bringing nourishment and life. Our cells are given a jolt of Spirit. We are literally taking on a new life. It doesn’t come all at once. It comes little by little, piece by piece. Week by week we get just a little bit more. We, the body of Christ, take sustenance from Jesus’ body, becoming like him.
I also find that as we, who are a diverse group of many people, take in the one body, we all become interconnected, into one body. I can no longer hold grudges and divisiveness in my heart against one of you. We all share in Christ. Similarly, I can’t hold hatred against any Christian. We are all connected. And as the circles of connectedness, of people who are all one in this body, are drawn wider, from the service, to the congregation, to the diocese, to the nation, to the world, I find that being part of this interconnected and living Christ, I cannot find hatred for people of other religions and no religion. I can’t find hatred at all. We all share in a big, beautiful, diverse body. Some do not believe in Christ, some don’t take the Eucharist, but we all eat. We all drink. We all require nourishment. While the Eucharist is particularly holy, blessed elements that bring the divine Christ, all food sustains life. All food allows individual spirits to be uplifted. All food connects us. And so, the simple table, the wafer, the wine, brings this cosmic interconnectedness in which I can only find love and care for those around me. And so I come. I take in the Spirit, and I find life anew with all of creation. I find myself drawn deeper into the love that is without boundaries. Amen.