label for blog title "Water in the Wilderness"

“The bread of life…The cup of blessing.”

This week’s post is written by Beth Spaulding, First Church Deacon

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021, was the first time I uttered those words since March 1st, 2020.  Like many of you, I had shared in the bread and cup in front of a computer screen for about a year and a half.  I had not realized how much I had missed literally “being in communion” with all of you! Standing there at a communion station with Jaz and being able to actually offer the bread and cup was emotional in a way I had not expected.

Over the last few months, the Board of Deacons and the ministerial staff had many conversations about how to offer communion in a way that felt familiar and also followed the COVID-19 protocols under which we have been living. We had tried several different options over the summer months, but after our first Regathering Sunday we knew that we would need to recalibrate, in a way, how we shared the elements at the table with a larger number of people.

If you have been a deacon, at First Church or another congregation, you know how hectic Sunday morning communion prep can be.  This past Sunday was no exception: cutting bread into cubes and filling small glasses of juice in the kitchen and bringing it all very carefully into the sanctuary.  We needed to make sure there was sufficient space between the stations and that there would be enough room for the congregation to go to the stations and then back to their seats without any bottlenecks.

But when one of our newer deacons, for whom it would be their first time in this role, asked what words to say when people came forward to receive the bread and cup, for a moment, I stumbled for the words.  It had been so long since I said them.  They came off my tongue pretty readily after a delay, but they didn’t seem entirely real.

And then, going up to the table, taking a tray of glasses and going to stand next to Jaz.  As people came up, I looked at their faces and said their names while offering the bread of life and the cup of blessing.  And I realized that this was what all the conversations and preparations and logistic were leading to; that holy moment when the gifts of God are given to the people of God.

As I was returning the tray of glasses to the table, I thought of all of you who were participating in communion from your own tables and I prayed that you all were experiencing that same holy moment.

We will continue to prayerfully consider ways to share in holy communion with all of you, while keeping safety first and foremost.  But those words will not change – “The bread of life.”  “The cup of blessing.” The gifts of God for the people of God.  Come, for all things are ready.