Sunday, April 01, 2007

Eternal Life?!

I serve in several capacities in my parish. I'm proud to serve on the vestry and several committees. Liturgically, I am most happy when serving as crucifer. I also serve as one of our parish's Eucharistic Ministers. You know: the people who get to administer the chalice, following the priest who is giving the host to people at the communion rail.

I've been doing that for a couple of years now, and I've gotten into a natural rhythm. To the folks who drink from the chalice, I say, "The blood of Christ – the cup of salvation." To those who intinct, I say, "The body and blood of Christ keep you in eternal life." Down the rail I go, saying these words to one and all.

The words have never become routine to me. It's an honor to give that chalice to each and every person at the altar. I know the people in the parish. Often, we meet eyes as I say those words just before they drink the wine. It's often a moment of intense connection. It has never yet become routine for me.

Recently there was one especially out-of-the-ordinary moment. In our parish, communion is offered to all baptized persons, including children. The other day, I was serving as Eucharistic minister, speaking those words to each person who drank from the chalice or dipped the host into the wine. I approached a little girl who had her host ready for dipping into the chalice, and I said those words, "The body and blood of Christ keep you in eternal life." She reacted as if this was the first time she had heard those words. Even before she could dip the host into the wine, she shrieked in her delighted little-girl voice, "Eternal life???!!!!" Her words reverberated throughout the sanctuary. Like it was the most marvelous gift she could have been given. And so it is. So it is for all of us. But most of us have forgotten to shriek our joy and astonishment in child-like tones.

As I sat quietly in my pew on this Passion Sunday, I found myself remembering her delight. In our liturgical year, we are marching toward Golgatha, and hoping for the resurrection. May we all have the joy that little girl had – that God has given us the gift of eternal life through the sacrifice we recall this week.


Blogger Ann said...

A great sermon in this. Thanks

4/01/2007 11:49 PM  
Blogger We Do It Too said...

Thank you for this. As a Presbyterian this is why I do not, just DO NOT understand why we don't do communion every week. But if I was anything else, I would be Episcopalian...what a great story for a sermon here.

4/02/2007 7:50 AM  
Blogger Cecilia said...

My reaction also... a great story for a sermon. And a great privilege to have been the minister of the sacrament in that moment.

Pax, C.

4/02/2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Aw, shucks, y'all. Many thanks for your very kind comments. It was indeed a holy and joyous moment.

WDIT, I know what you mean. For a time, I went on sabbatical from the Episcopal Church, and could have become a Presbyterian ... except that I need that regular feeding in the Eucharist.

Cecelia, yes, I certainly did feel privileged that day. And thanks for dropping in. As you know, I'm a fan of your blog. Any woman who can quote Donne is a .... well, is one I'd be honored to know.

4/02/2007 5:41 PM  

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