Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Precious Body of Christ

The second day of Advent yesterday, and our plans to do home communions all shot to hell thanks to the monster snow and ice storm that stretched across half the country. But for our own reasons we decided to take P. communion, in the bluster and snow and ice. She greeted us with bright eyes... they brightest they've been in weeks. We spoke for a few moments, and she shared with us about some visitors she'd had earlier in the day, and her recollection was perfect (there's a sign in sheet). I read from Isaiah, and we shared communion.

While chewing the bread, P. struggled a bit. A small morsel... the size of a dime, maybe... fell out of her mouth and onto her dressing gown. I picked it up with a Kleenex and put it in my pocket.

Later, at the church for a meeting, I found the tissue. I didn't want to throw it away. I looked at the small bit of bread that had fallen out of P.'s mouth, and it felt sacred. I'm not of a tradition with a high Eucharistic theology, but I do have great reverence for the sacrament. I should say, I'm in awe of it. I believe it is beyond our comprehension, and we stand in the middle of deep mystery every time we celebrate it. I could not throw this piece of bread, which was not only our communion in the body of Christ, but also was a part of P., even through she couldn't swallow it. Her mouth had held it; she had chewed it; it had briefly been a part of her fragile body. Finally, after a few moments, I stepped out into the swirling snow. I found a place beneath the bushes where the squirrels often shelter. I left it there for them.

6 comments:

LittleMary said...

beautiful...

RevDrKate said...

amen to littlemary....shivers as I read....

Kate said...

I spent many years watching my Anglican priest do the ablutions, thinking that the way we treat the holy hardware, and the bread and wine itself, verged on idolatry.

Then one day I was at a friend's parish, where they believe the bread and grape juice symbolize the body and blood. There were bread crumbs falling on the floor; people stepped on them. And I felt ill.

Thank you, Cecelia. I have picked up a piece of bread from the floor at the altar rail and eaten it rather than throw it away.

Mother Laura said...

Beautiful, C., thank you. And thank you also for the fantastic love and support at my place--one of the reasons it's worth publishing the occasional hatemail.

Nina said...

The right and reverent thing to do for everyone--including the squirrels!

Jan said...

This is nice. Thank you.