As my hand reached for the bread, my Pastor repeated Christ’s words, “given for you”. I dipped the bread in the wine as he said, “…shed for you and for all people…” I chewed, I swallowed, I made the sign of the cross, and then I reached for the chalice of wine.
It was my first time to assist with serving Holy Communion. It was also a special occasion celebrating All Saints Day with four other congregations. Standing together at the front of the church with my pastor, I remembered the words of my catechism instruction: “In, with, and under the consecrated bread and wine, Christ himself is truly and really present.”
Turning to face the congregation, I saw the long line of people begin coming forward. Suddenly I felt awestruck and overwhelmed by the sacredness of what we were about to do.
One by one, people appeared before me with outstretched hands holding consecrated bread. As each one dipped bread into the chalice, I spoke, “The Blood of Christ, shed for you.” Eyes met mine as I heard a quiet “Amen.” Over and over again, hands reached, eyes met, and a quiet “Amen” was breathed.
My eyes met the eyes of others: blue eyes, brown eyes, young and innocent eyes, watery old eyes. One by one, one after another, I continued to repeat the words, “The Blood of Christ, shed for you.” As each one reached, chewed, swallowed, I saw them one by one, by the dozens, by the hundreds, as my lips continued to repeat the words “… shed for you.” I caught my breath, as I began to sense a miraculous transformation – it was if Christ was looking back at me through the eyes of each one.
I was filled with amazed awe at what God was doing, how God was present. It was as if time stopped, over and over. The intense moment was filled with the mystery of God coming to us, giving Christ’s self for each one of us, and making us all one. Each pair of eyes reflected God’s glory; God’s presence was a living reality in the sharing of the sacrament.
The wondrous words of Christ will never sound the same again. “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.” … “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.”