Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Holding the Chalice

Holding the chalice as my church family receives Holy Communion is a privilege for me. That we share ourselves with each other when we dip bread in the common cup demonstrates what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12:27 when he says “You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.”

On a recent Sunday I was privileged to hold the chalice. As people dipped their bread, some crumbs remained in the cup. As I said to each person, “This is the blood of Christ, poured out for you” I was aware that the cup also held the body of Christ, the crumbs of the bread each communicant had received. Body and blood cannot be separated. Each needs the other.

This is no less true of us. While I could not identify from whom the individual crumbs in the chalice came, seeing them mingled together reminded me that we need each other, that we cannot be separated one from another and be fully who we are created to be. Wholeness is never a solitary way of being. Holiness is not an individual achievement.

Our interdependence is demonstrated in Holy Communion, eating from the same loaf, dipping into the same cup. As the servant allowed to hold the cup, I saw visual confirmation of our interdependence—crumbs—fragile life given and shared in Christ’s body and blood. What a precious gift to hold in my hands, and what a glorious memory to now hold in my heart! Some may disdain crumbs in the chalice but for me they represent bits and pieces of ourselves, our broken and shared selves, immersed in God’s sweet and generous grace.

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