Last year, dear friends from Scotland sent me a chocolate fountain as a thank you gift. Sunday at church, we celebrated Chocolate Communion.
I know, I know, if it’s not session-approved bread and wine (or at a minimum, Welch’s grape juice), it aint’ communion. But bear with me.
The fountain ran with chocolate the entire service and the delightful smell filled the sanctuary. Folks came up at the appointed time and got their fruit and sweet treats dipped in luxurious chocolate. We even had a litany.
But what came after the dipping and eating and laughing . . . that was holy ground.
For our prayer time, I asked for the names of people or groups we wished were there with us, sharing in the bounty.
“The people of Somalia,” came one voice.
We prayed that those who lack so much could enjoy the sheer pleasure of more than enough food to eat.
“The people of Norway,” came another voice.
In sorrow, we mourned and prayed that those scathed by senseless violence could be surrounded by the comfort of friends and loved ones sharing even in a simple meal.
And then came Wes’ tear-filled voice, “Pam,” he said, referring to his wife who died last year after struggling against the cancer that would take her life.
We spoke of the communion of saints and the great cloud of witnesses. We pondered their presence, as real as Jesus’, at table with us. And as I looked at the many gathered faces, tears were streaming.
It wasn’t church in the usual way last Sunday. The preacher went and hugged folk where they sat. People were talking and laughing. And crying. Masks were taken off and we were just a family, sitting around the table, sharing our memories and our pain as well as our joys and hopes.
So much loss fills our lives together and apart. So many treasured loved ones have died. Too many for such a small community. We all feel the loss.
And yet, there we were, with our chocolate smiles shining through the tears, grateful we could be together.
That, dear friends, is communion.