May 20, 2020
On Monday night, the DPC Session approved a virtual sharing of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on May 24. With the shelter-in-place restrictions of COVID-19 we have been unable to take part in that meal together since March 1. Ordinarily, we would have done so as part of our Maundy Thursday and Easter services, but were still confined to our home on those dates. This coming Sunday was the next scheduled time for Communion and thus your officers unanimously authorized our sharing of it as part of Worship on the Web.
Our Book of Order permits such a step as consistent with our understanding of the Sacrament as a sign and seal of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. That ancestor in the faith John Calvin, adds, “let us remember how far the secret virtue of the Holy Spirit surpasses all our conceptions, and how foolish it is to wish to measure its immensity by our feeble capacity. Therefore, what our mind does not comprehend let faith conceive—that the Spirit truly unites things separated by space.” Thus, during worship this week we will celebrate that meal together even while apart.
In anticipation of that time, please gather whatever is available to you. You can use whatever bread or juice you choose, but will remind you that the Book of Order says elements should be “common to the region.” In our case I hear those words to mean that whatever you can secure given any restrictions on movement can replicate the bread and cup of the Last Supper. Thus, when we come to that time of celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper we will be using differing foods, yet by the power of the Holy Spirit will be one.
While certainly I look forward to the day when we gather again in person to share in this meal of the faithful, I am grateful once again for the adaptive leadership shown by our Session in approving this change. Until that moment and beyond, know of my prayer for you that as we “gather” on Sunday we will be fed once more beyond our imagination or descriptive powers.
John M. Willingham