Most missed my communion debacle at the 8:30 service Sunday. Though I made several mistakes, one stands out. I spilled the communion bread all over the floor. Taking the plate from the deacon, I turned to place the plate on the table and all of the bread slid off and slopped over the side. I had just finished saying to several people, “This is the body of Christ for you.” Now those symbolic portions were on the floor. No five second rule applied.
I remembered taking communion to a Catholic patient several years ago. The daughter was open to a non-Catholic serving them communion. When we finished, she asked me what I wanted to do with the leftover bread. Without thinking I said, “Just throw it away.” Her horrified reaction reminded me of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation which asserts that the cup and the bread become the actual body and blood of Jesus. I corrected myself by saying I would take it with me and eat it later.
I appreciate our reverence for the elements of communion. While I do not share the view of transubstantiation, I do respect our Catholic friends and their beliefs. For me, what actually becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus is the flesh and blood of other people; specifically those spoken of in Jesus’ parables of Matthew 25. Jesus called them “the least”. Some call them the marginalized. Some call them the invisible. Others call them dispossessed. What we do to these, good or bad, is the same as doing it to Jesus. They are the body and blood. As strong as my urge to get the spilled elements off the floor quickly, I wonder if my energy really needs to go to lifting these who are the body and blood of Jesus.