Christmas Eve Grace
|Our church had 2 Christmas eve services: one at 5:30 pm and the other at 11:00 pm. I was a chalice bearer at both services. Which meant I wore a vestment, meaning that my boys get worried that Dad is wearing a dress.
In the Episcopal Church the priest gives the host or bread to each person and is assisted by other clergy or lay people, who administer the cup of wine. Some people dip the host into the cup, which is called intinction, while others prefer to drink from the cup. We had 2 chalice bearers on Christmas eve and I was one of them.
In our church people come up to the communion rail at the altar and kneel if they are able. From my perspective, it's always interesting to see who comes to the rail and kneels next to each other. In my warped mind, it kind of seems like a slot machine.
Communion is an act of unity. It is God uniting us to Himself, as we participate in and partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
On this Christmas eve, I was awed by seeing the God's grace at work. One family came to the rail together, Peter and his divorced wife BJ and their daughter — separate homes on this earth but one in Christ.
There was also my friend Andy's wife Margaret and his ex-wife, whose name I don't know, taking communion side by side with Andy and his ex's son Dillon. Essentially, here are warring factions, who are often not happy with each other but like it or not, one in Christ at the altar. When they kneel at the altar, they are on equal footing: both sinners shown grace and love by God without preference, and needing to be fed with the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of our savior Jesus Christ.
The imagery was powerful for me this Christmas eve, as I was reminded once again of God's great love and sacrifice for me.
(The woman who won't take the cup from me because I am not a confirmed Episcopalian wasn't there. Thank God. She would have ruined it for me. Anyways, I don't have to be confirmed by Canterbury. I was baptized and confirmed by Rome.)