aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Nobody asked me, but . . .

I've already expressed myself elsewhere on the subject of an online eucharist -- something in the same category as "electronic chocolate" -- and also on the subject of the fools and bishops (but I repeat myself) who pretend to have the authority to permit such things. We are left with the question, How could we do communion properly under the current conditions of social distancing?

Well, many of us are already doing online worship, however we can. And many of us are in fairly small congregations. The one I attend averages about 70 or so in attendance -- maybe 40 households, maybe a few more with all our widows and widowers. A manageable number.

So, let us assume that on a Sunday morning, when you tune in your local UM church's FB Live online worship service, we go rapidly from the opening proclamations to the communion service. The pastor and eight servers (plus tech person) gather round the table and consecrate the elements and share together. Then, the eight servers don masks and gloves and each take 5 or 6 readied household baskets containing a host the size of a silver dollar pancake and a sealed bottle of grape juice. These were all on the table at the time of consecration.

Then these eight "extraordinary ministers of the eucharist" as our Catholic friends call them, get in their cars and deliver the household baskets to each household that has requested communion. At each house, the driver gets out, dons a fresh pair of vinyl gloves (since driving the car may have contaminated his or her hands) and then goes up to the door. Without entering or embracing, the server hands the basket to the person who comes to the door and says, "The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, given for you. Take and eat and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving. Amen." And then goes on to the next stop.

In a not-too-spread out parish, everyone should be served within an hour, which hour the pastor has filled with sermon and prayer and music. At the end of the scheduled time, the pastor gives the benediction, and -- done. All the norms of celebration have been preserved. All the rules of social distancing have been preserved. The people have been fed with the body and blood of Jesus.

But, Art, it would take lots of effort to organize and do that. Yes, and worthy things are worth the effort. If you think you can do them with a lick and a promise, then you merely cheapen priceless things.

I suppose there are other ways to tackle this, given other congregational situations. Or we could just wait a few weeks until we can meet together again. Hey, when I was a kid, Methodists complained about having communion more than four times a year. Some things are worth the wait.

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