By Anne Hughes
As a Protestant Christian I always winked at the idea that the Lord’s Supper was anything more than a mental exercise. The Lord told us to do it, so that’s fine, but these elements of bread and wine are only there to jog our thinking into “remembrance” of the Lord’s death for us. Precious indeed, but there was no confusion in my mind as to whether or not there was any thing else going on.
As I’ve learned more about the ancient church practices, and also, been honest with the clear teachings of Holy Scripture, I’ve realized this view falls short.
Then came the Coronavirus.
Having to keep a distance from everyone, including those we love and feel responsible for, has brought entirely new reflections. We are now experiencing what “distance” feels like, lived on an everyday basis. The issue struck uncomfortably close to home when we found out our daughter may have come down with the virus. She has been isolated in her home. We, of course, are strictly forbidden to come to her house to care for her. We’d just read the tragic stories of people in Italy and other countries, where the older grandparent was dying alone in hospital, no family allowed. Tragic indeed. Our daughter does not have serious symptoms and may not have the disease; but not to be near her during a time of need, as we normally would, feels wrong.
This situation has caused me to reflect on how the Lord cares for us as His children. I asked myself, “If the Lord loves us, cares for us, and gave Himself for us; if He said that He would be with us always, why is there no physical, material reality of that in our lives?” We are, after all, material beings, and we know that He is too, having a human body for eternity. If being present to those we love is part of our lives, then where is He? You can see now why suddenly the “real presence” has taken on new meaning for me. I plan to meditate on this truth even more now. The Lord is truly with us. He’s told us that the bread and wine and are his body and blood. Material things. Suddenly it’s making more sense.
Anne Hughes lives in Charlottesville, VA and attends All Saints Anglican.