Dear Christ Church family,
I miss the Eucharist.
I miss the ritual that made so much of the rest of the world fade away enough for me to refocus on the one who gives us the best perspective.
I miss seeing the facial and bodily expressions each of you have as you approach the altar. The hands young and old reaching for the Sacrament. The smiles and the pensive faces, too. Those who received with joy and anticipation and maybe a little bit of both!
And I know so many of you miss the Eucharist, too. Many of you have told me as such, and we have lamented that loss together. March 8 was the last time a Sunday Eucharist was celebrated at Christ Church. In many ways, it feels longer than that. So much of the world has changed!
During this season of fasting from the Eucharist, we have found new ways to grow and learn. Fasting is a spiritual discipline often overlooked in our tradition. This is a time to think of fasting out of love for our neighbor and our self so we might protect all of God’s Children
We have returned to the origins of our Anglican heritage in Morning Prayer. Morning and Evening Prayer were intended by Thomas Cranmer to be said by all people, lay and clergy alike, every day. Cranmer is author of the first two versions of the Book of Common Prayer in the Church of England (1549 and 1552). For some of you, it’s a return to an earlier part of your life in the Episcopal Church when the Eucharist was far less commonplace than it is now. I know that has given you comfort!
We have learned that we can share our worship in online formats that reach far beyond the corner of Craven and Pollock Street. A former parishioner now living in Hawaii sent us a postcard saying how much she enjoyed our Easter Day service! The views of our online services have far exceeded what we have normally seen on a Sunday morning. And we give thanks to God for that!
And we have learned how much we value each other as a parish family and community.
For me, the Eucharist is about community. It’s about the people gathered together to celebrate Jesus in our midst and in how he lives through us in the world. It is a important for all people to participate as much as possible when celebrating the Eucharist. For most of human history, community has meant a physical gathering, and I doubt that definition will change. We will continue to learn what community means in the Internet Age, and what an expanded definition means for the Church.
What does the Eucharist mean to you?
What have you missed about it?
What do you look forward to in receiving it again?
I’d love to hear what you have to say. You can click here to share your thoughts with me. (Parents: Ask your kids what it means to them and what they miss about it, too. Every voice counts at Christ Church!)
In the meantime, you may notice a different air of familiarity in tomorrow’s online worship (10:00am on our YouTube channel). We will be doing the Liturgy of the Word, also known as ante-communion. It is the first half of the Eucharistic liturgy with a focus on Scripture and prayer. The second half of the Easter season seemed like a good time to make a shift. (Check out p. 406-7 of the Book of Common Prayer for more details.)
I also hope you will join us tomorrow for the fist of four sessions about the Eucharist. We will gather at 11:00am on Zoom. Click here for the full link.
On Tuesday, Bishop Skirving will be sharing his plans and directives for re-engaging in-person worship. I look forward to receiving those and working with a group of Vestry, Staff, and other parishioners on how we live into those directives.
This fasting will not last forever, and I take some hope that we are closer to the end than when we started. I also know that, as people of Ressurection, we will come out stronger on the other side of all this.
I look forward to hearing what the Eucharist means to you, and to seeing you face-to-face again.