Eucharist in Extraordinary Times
Beginning in Advent, our online worship experience will include Holy Communion (also sometimes called Eucharist). Given that these are extraordinary times, our Lutheran theology offers the “emergency rubric” to allow us to share in Holy Communion in a way that is safe. We realize that not everyone will want to partake in Holy Communion from their tables at home, which is perfectly fine. We will invite you to use the moment in the service as a time to reflect on God’s presence with you in the Word and through the Holy Spirit.
Getting Ready Here are a few things to think about and/or prepare before the service:
What table will you use? You can simply pull up a coffee table or gather at your kitchen/dining room table. You may want to prepare your table by placing a white cloth on it or finding a cross in your house to place on it. You may also want to light a candle to remind you of Christ’s presence.
What bread will you use? Any bread - homemade or store bought - or cracker will work for communion. If you want, there are some bread recipes below that you can use for your communion bread as well as prayers you can say as you make. Place the bread/crackers on a plate on the table.
What juice/wine will you use? Red wine or grape juice are ideal but white is also appropriate. If you have neither on hand, then water can be used as well. You can pour a little in a glass for as many people are worshiping in your house.
During the Service At the time of Holy Communion, Pastor Shannon will preside much like when we worship together in person. When Pastor Shannon lifts the bread and cup, it is appropriate for you to lift the elements you have on your table at home. We believe that God who has the power to raise Jesus from the dead has the power - through the Holy Spirit - to join us together in Holy Communion. Just like when we gather together physically in the sanctuary, the Holy Spirit will come, bringing Christ’s presence to be in, with and under the bread and wine/juice. The bread and wine/juice will be the real presence of Jesus Christ, his body and blood. How this will logistically happen, we are leaving up to God, trusting that God is greater than all that limits us during this time. After the Lord’s Prayer, you will commune those in your household, saying, “The body of Christ, given for you” and “The blood of Christ, shed for you.” If you are alone, Pastor Shannon will say those words to you. You are joined to the body of Christ - the church - through this holy meal.
After the Service Traditionally, leftover communion elements - the bread and the wine/juice - are either eaten or returned to the earth. If you do not consume them, take them outside and place them in your garden/lawn (where they will feed the birds and other animals). It isn’t appropriate to throw them in the trash or down the drain.
FAQs Who is able to receive Holy Communion in this way?
When we gather in person for worship, our table is open to all who seek Christ’s presence. The same is true for “Eucharist in Extraordinary Times.” All are welcome and we really do mean all. If you have someone in your household who doesn’t receive, it would be appropriate to offer them a blessing if they would like. An example of a blessing would be, “Remember God loves you.”
What if I can’t watch the service on Sunday morning and watch later in the week?
With God all things are possible! That said, we are encouraging those who would like to receive communion to be part of the Sunday morning worship experience. An important part of our understanding of Holy Communion is that it happens in community.
Is this the “new normal” for how we can receive Holy Communion?
No. This is “Eucharist in Extraordinary Times” because there is no safe way for us to receive Holy Communion face-to-face. We believe God is calling us to be church for the sake of the world by staying home. Staying home is how we are following Jesus in this COVID-19 season. When it is safe for us to be physically present together and the times are no longer “extraordinary,” then Holy Communion will be something that only happens in the context of worship in the sanctuary.
What if I am not comfortable receiving Holy Communion in this way?
We anticipate that not everyone will want to receive Holy Communion in this way and that is perfectly fine. We encourage you to use the time during the service to reflect, pray, and trust the Holy Spirit’s presence with you.
Communion Bread Recipes One way to prepare for “Eucharist in Extraordinary Times” is to prayerfully make your own communion bread. Below you will find some prayer resources as well as suggested recipes.
No-Yeast, Pantry-Friendly Bread Recipe https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/213830/brennans-irish-soda-bread/
Luther Seminary Communion Bread Recipe https://inside.luthersem.edu/community-care/chapel/
Easy Peesy French Bread Recipe https://www.mymundaneandmiraculouslife.com/foodie-fridays-easy-peesy-french-bread/
Prayers for Communion Bread Baking
Before Beginning Bread Baking
Gracious God, as you gather the grains of wheat once scattered into one, so gather these ingredients to become bread and gather us together with all your people to become the body of Christ for the sake of the world. Be present in our baking and in this time of preparation to receive Holy Communion, which we know to be just a foretaste of the feast to come, through
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God of Love, you are present with us in each and every moment of our lives. As we stir/knead, help us to know your presence with us and name before you those with whom we wish we could present, trusting that you will go to be where we cannot in this time. We pray especially for…[add names]…through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
When Placing Bread into the Oven God of Hope, we place this bread into the oven trusting the process of cooking, knowing that in this time
it will go from being dough to bread. Help us to experience in this bread hope for our world, trusting that you are at work in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine, creating a future different than the one we can see before us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.