I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, around the anniversary of my ordination. I think at the time I wrote it I couldn’t get on the internet, and then somehow I didn’t come back to it. Perhaps the emotion of it, and the self-centredness of it was a bit conflicting. Communion really isn’t all about me, or how I feel. But it’s been a tough year and sometimes it hasn’t seemed clear why things were unfolding as they were. I guess the why isn’t so important. A couple of weeks ago I broke bread into the hands of the congregation and it seemed like I was in the right place, doing the right thing, being something of the person that I’m called to be. This is what I wrote about it:
It happened today.
Its not predictable, or reliable. In some ways that doesn’t matter, because it’s true regardless of how I feel about it. But today, as I distributed Communion, I felt like a priest.
I am a priest. Regardless of whether your theology of ordination is about an ontological change (a change in what is) or an epistemological change (a change in what can be known) something happened when I was ordained twelve years ago.
I am a priest who currently works as an ecumenical pastor. And before that as an ecumenical chaplain. So that can mean much less of the kind of sacramental “work” that used to express who I am as a priest. Less presiding at Eucharist and baptising and blessing and anointing and all of that.
I am also a priest who is a pastor who has sarcoidosis. Which has meant a lot more lying around doing nothing than any kind of doing anything. Not very much working which means not very much pastoring… And really not very much standing up which means even less of the public work of pastoring: preaching and presiding.
But today I stood up. It became clear that there weren’t quite enough people to distribute communion. And probably if Andrew (who was presiding) had looked over the congregation he would have seen one of the other people in the congregation who is a distributor of communion and could have gestured or summoned or something. But I stepped into the semi circle as we received the sacrament of hand sanitiser and then was given a loaf of bread to take and break and distribute.
I looked the members of our congregation in the eye and broke them a piece of bread and said to them “The Body of Christ, the Bread of Life”. And the call to love and serve them made sense. And I felt like a priest. And there was grace and life and goodness.