What are we doing when we share our Sunday worship? Is it really a Eucharist or Communion when we can’t be together?
These notes go with the livestream video
Bishop Stephen has written about receiving Spiritual Communion, receiving the blessing of Jesus presence without the physical Bread and Wine.
“you will notice a short prayer at the heart of the service which draws on the story of the woman who comes to Jesus but only touches the hem of his garment. She still receives healing and blessing (See Mark 5. 25-34). In a way, spiritual communion is like this. We are not able to receive the sacramental bread and wine. But in a spiritual communion we still come to Jesus and he still receives us.”
This is a particularly poignant way of praying; it emphasises our separation and isolation. It may help us to pray for our own need and the needs of those who are even more isolated than we are.
Thanksgiving is at the heart of the Communion service. The central prayer is called the Eucharistic Prayer and this comes from the Greek – eucharisto means ‘I give thanks’.
Mark’s gospel, followed by Matthew and Luke, puts the last supper in a wider context. In a sense the Last Supper is the climax of in a series of three, the feeding of 5,000, then 4,000 and then the 12. On each occasion Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and then gave it to the disciples – in Mark it is emphasised that the numbers reduce on each occasion. Luke adds a fourth, the disciples again recognised Jesus, this time risen, as he took bread, gave thanks and broke it in Emmaus.
So we can give thanks for all our food, whenever we eat or drink this can become a Eucharist – a time for giving thanks.
Prayer as Action
Sister Vassa is an Orthodox Nun posted a video blog talking about ‘Being Church when churches are Closed’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZBWuYI4WVo This includes doing the actions that we would do in church but at home – actions can be as eloquent prayers as words.
What actions can we take that can become prayers? Perhaps holding up empty hands in supplication, raising our hands in praise. The glorious thing about doing this at home is precisely that we are alone – no one else is watching if we think we might be making a bit of a fool of ourselves!
And if it gives God a laugh, that can’t be bad can it?
So what can we do together? Well we can make palm crosses and then share them using facebook (if you have difficulty posting them online could you email me a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org?)
When we come to watch our morning service on Facebook, could we have a piece of bread and a drink ready to ‘receive’ as we come to the Communion? Brenda tells me that from a Catholic perspective three things are necessary for concretion; form, matter and intention.
The form is the order of service – well that is in place as we are using Common Worship.
Matter is the bread and wine – these are offered by lay folk in our usual Sunday worship in the offertory procession so you would be your own offertory procession (that might take us back to Sr Vassa. She talks about having a procession with the cross around her flat).Inte