Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Personal Within the Mystery

Today we observed World Communion Sunday at my church. The music was inspiring, the hymns meaningful, and we celebrated communion in my most favorite way: intinction. In case this is unfamiliar to you, I give you these words from:

Wikipedia: "Intinction is the Eucharistic practice of partly dipping the consecrated bread, or host, into the consecrated wine before consumption by the communicant."

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "the administration of the sacrament of Communion by dipping bread in wine and giving both together to the communicant"

I realize that some faith traditions have a problem with intinction theologically, but I try not to get bogged down in questions such as these. Instead, I immerse myself in the moment. Here's what happened this morning.

I stand with my pew row and walk to the front of the church with my family while the choir sings You Satisfy the Hungry Heart. I'm directed to a station where two ministers stand holding the elements. I select a piece of bread from the basket.

This is the body of Christ...

I dip it into the cup.

The blood of Christ shed for you, Ellen.

I partake and return to my pew.

There was no lightning bolt, no mystic vision, no epiphany. I was merely one of hundreds in worship this morning who came forward to dip bread into cup. And yet...

And yet.

For me, intinction as a means of celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is much more personal than the pass-the-tray-along-the-pew method. It's more active, requiring commitment on my part. I stand. I come forward. I take the elements. Then, those beautiful words.

The blood of Christ. Shed for me.

And since the ministers know me by name, I am called by name. No longer just one of the crowd, I am known. And it means so much to me that I am known -- not by the ministers, you understand -- but known by Jesus.

This is for you, Ellen, all for you.

It's all for you, too.

1 comment:

  1. What a good post. I didn't realise there was a name for that way of doing Communion. I experienced it visiting the Methodist church I grew up in when I was back in Portland this spring, and it was amazing. There is a mystery about any Communion, to me. It has something to do with the fact that we are individually forgiven and blessed, and at the same time, we're all participating as one. Like you say, no thunderbolt, *and yet*...


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