Bread. Wine. Words spoken. Music sung. Week in, week out, I come to the table, to that thin place when I stand with the Holy One together with my ancestors. The divide between this world and the next is opened and we are one.
The weekly Eucharist had always been a focal point of worship for me. The body of Christ given for you. The blood of Christ shed for you. I don’t know how the simple elements of bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but I accept that they do. After my father’s death, my understanding of the mystical nature of the Eucharist expanded in a profound yet comforting way.
I heard anew the words of the Great Thanksgiving where we are invited to join with “angels, archangels and all the company of heaven” to sing the Sanctus, the Holy, Holy. Those were words I had heard every week for decades. My father and I had long shared a love of music and often sang together. It was probably the first Sunday after his death. I don’t really recall. I suddenly understood the two of us were still singing together, there in the Holy, Holy, me here on Earth and Dad among the company of heaven. What comfort this gave to me then!
I came to understand the Eucharist as a thin place, as Celtic people would call it, a moment when the veil between this place and the other side of God’s commonwealth is lifted and we are joined together. I don’t know how this all happens, but I accept that it does. Many more people in my life have died since my father. Each week I think of all those souls singing the Holy, Holy, too, with the veil pulled back, all of us together for those moments in the Eucharist every Sunday morning. No, it is also God’s presence. Jesus in the bread and wine. In me. Jesus caring for me. Me sent to care for others.
Week in, week out, I come to the table, to that thin place when I stand with the Holy One together with my ancestors. The divide between this world and the next is opened and we are one.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA.