Many churches normally celebrate communion on the 1st Sunday of the month.
This is not your average month however. There is a lot of hand-wringing about whether to do online communion … OR … utilize this Sunday as a ‘Lenten fast’ from communion until we are all together again physically.
It is amazing how ‘social distancing’ has challenged both our vocabulary and our metaphysics.
More about that in a future post.
I found a work-around or a middle-ground or a loop-hole:
It is call an (in)Version of Communion. I want to make it available to anyone who is considering celebrating the sacrament of communion with their online community.
Nerdy side-note: I totally get why ministers and church leaders may not want to say the same words that they always do when they do not fit the digital space when they are broadcasting from an otherwise empty room. So I changed the words.
This inverse communion does not start with with one loaf and one cup and then try and figure out how it can be virtually broadcast to the many. It starts with the many (breads and baked goods) and utilizes ‘words of instantiation‘ to make concrete the abstract or the theoretical.
I want to be clear: these are words of instantiation NOT the regular words of institution.
Something different is happening here.
We shortened it to 6 minutes.
Please see the PDF included here if you are interested, or read the words below and please let me know what you think. An (in)Version of Communion [edit 2]
An (in)Version of Communion:
Oh, beautiful and sacred divine, we greet you this morning in the knowledge that all life is in your loving care – for your Spirit’s presence is everywhere at all times filling all things with life and intention.
We give thanks this morning for the reality that in our various locations, separated by miles and social distance, that it is still true that it is in you in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). The psalmist reminds us that there is nowhere we can hide from your presence (Psalm 149:7) and we confess that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 38-39).
You have given us the gift of your Holy Spirit who testifies within us that we belong to you (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:16) and who unites us with the saints of the past who have walked this road of faith before us through various trials and tribulations.
Now come Holy Spirit and make us one across the miles and through this media of the digital web that now connects us. Transform, by your spirit of grace, our social isolation and distance into a holy community that is connected to each other by your sacred presence. Be near to us as we are separated from one another so that each of our kitchen tables (and coffee tables) may be mystically connected in communion to your table which unites us all.
We give thanks for this sacred ceremony in all of the ways it has manifested over the centuries.
We also give thanks for these elements that nourish and sustain us through difficult times and for the earth from which these ingredients came. For this bread (or baked goods) and for this cup (or mug) we give thanks and acknowledge that it is through elements like these that our mortal bodies are nourished, strengthened, and satisfied.
We take these as symbols and pray that they would be transformed from ordinary elements into signs that point us to the greater reality of your presence in the earth in all places and at all times.
[For the Beauty of the Earth v1]
May these humble offerings be transformed into symbols that participate in the reality that point to into signs of the life to come.
Normally we take the one loaf and we break it to serve the many. In doing so, we symbolize the significance of our unity as the body of Christ through remembering your body broken for us that in you we may be one. This morning we lift up our many pieces through this medium of social media and ask that in you the many would be one. Make this bread to be for us a sign of your presence with us, sustaining us and filling us with good things.
May this symbol remind us that in our brokenness we are to be bread for the world
[For the Beauty of the Earth v2 communion chorus]
On the night that Jesus took this cup, he lifted it and gave thanks–infusing it with new meaning. This cup represents the life and the love of Christ poured out. We give thanks for what is in this cup and for the earth from which these elements come. We are grateful for the vines and bushes and brambles which give fruit in due season and fill our lives with good things.
Normally during this ceremony, we proclaim that there is one cup and that it is filled with goodness and love poured out for the good of the many. This morning we ask the by the power of your presence our many cups would signify that we drink deeply of the good things of God and that they would help us to remember that we look forward to a day where we shall be together with all the saints for the great Thanksgiving and the banquet feast of the ages in your eternal presence.
Let them, Holy Spirit, remind us that our lives – like this cup – are filled with your goodness and grace so that our lives may be poured out in service to others.
As we take these elements into ourselves, make them be to us the body of Christ – as we remember that we are your body – and the love of God poured out for our good and the good of the many.
May every plate and every cup help us to remember your great love for us and for all living things.
We partake of these elements together through the medium of this digital communion and ask that you would unite us in heart through this great mystery of the ages – through the mediating presence of this online medium – that we are connected to each other into a holy communion of the people of God – a royal priesthood of all believers.
By the power of Spirit, the medium of these elements and the media of this digital space is transformed into a sacred ceremony of communion and thanksgiving across the miles from here unto eternity.
Let us celebrate together! Thanks be God who transforms our humble offerings.
Christ’s body broken for you – the many are made one and transformed into the body of Christ.
The Cup of God’s love poured out for you – to fill you with good things as you pour out your life for the good of many and the transformation of the world.
Thanks be to God. Amen
#Online #Communion #Liturgy #Digital #Church