That Covid Communion Cup
Take, eat: this is my body, broken for you: this do in remembrance or me. – 1 Corinthians 11:24 (KJV)
In hopes to not trivialize an important matter—the incarnation of God in Jesus in flesh and blood—I request special permission from the reader. If you like those small communion cups that have a wafer on top of them, cost 31 cents from Amazon if you bulk-buy 100, likely made somewhere deep in China, and likely homogenized for perpetuity: please read no further.
I am not trying to insult those who fed us with Jesus and kept the ritual going. Thank you for your service.
When I was at a communion service last week and the people adjacent couldn’t open their wafered cup, I vacillated between tears and laughter. Their effort reminded me of nothing like getting home from Costco and having to get a chain saw to get into the packages I had bought.
When they finally gave up, my pewmates said way too loudly, “The hell with it.”
I decided to put my crumb and drop down too. Instead, I did what actors do when they improvise: I did a pantomime, and I communed in person with the 200 in the room. I ate make-believe bread and drank make-believe wine and believed its power, with or without material elements. The spirit is in the invisible invisibility of it all, anyway.
The next time virus threatens, I intend to use gestures and not pay for improvisation.
Touch us, O God, with the meaning of your body broken for us and your blood spilling for us, and help us get over the right way to do it. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.