We aren't separated from the Body of Christ
Those who had been baptized devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Act 2: 42
We have been living in some state of social distancing and challenge for some six weeks or more now. Who’s counting, right? I am sure we all are! I was reading the above verse from Acts and it struck me how hard it may seem to be a person living out the faith right now, in the age of coronavirus. We (I, at least) feel separated, pretty much, from all except immediate family and the people we pass while walking, shopping, or, for some, while working (exceptions, of course, like nurses and other folk). One of the things that many folks are feeling torn away from, right now, is church: the communities of faith that help us to more clearly see and live out the promises of our baptism. St. James, like most faith communities, is offering online services, even extra opportunities for our community (and anyone else who senses a hunger for connectivity, God, and the sacramental nature of Church). But one thing that is impossible to engage in, directly right now, is “the breaking of bread,” the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.
Clergy have struggled (me, but not just me) to figure out how to navigate the Eucharistic Feast, the breaking of the bread, during the time where only a few people are in church to assist with the service and all of you are watching, engaging, via Facebook Live or Zoom. I feel it is imperative that we continue to offer the sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood and that all of you partake in it, spiritually, by saying the Prayer for Spiritual Communion, found at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer in your bulletin each week (and at the end of this article). I am receiving the Eucharist in your stead, for now, and you are receiving its benefits by praying into Communion in the only way you can right now. Is this the preferred way for us to engage Holy Communion, the breaking of bread? Of course not, yet Spiritual Communion is a way for us to stay in fellowship and to live into the baptismal life of God in Christ, for this time and in this time. And we can continue experiencing the “apostle’s teaching” by reading Holy Scripture, praying (use the Prayer Book once in a while, if possible), and remembering that we are forever held in abundant love by the God who made us. Call me, if you ever need an ear, want to pray together, etc. and etc. I am here for you and God is always nigh, His love passed down through the redeeming work of Christ, and His wisdom, through the faithfulness of the apostles. Keep the faith and remember that Christ is forever Risen. Alleluia!