Give and Receive Christ’s own Holy Communion

Weekly Reflection, Friday, September 10

By: David May

Except for those who were too young or not yet born, most of us have been remembering September 11, 2001. This is the 20th anniversary of that tragic, profoundly traumatizing, world-changing day. A few nights ago, I watched a documentary made by two French brothers who at the time happened to be chronicling the life of a fire station, Ladder 1, in lower Manhattan. The documentary included footage of the second plane striking the second World Trade Tower. As I watched, I realized that I was shaking my head, my eyes were wide, and my mouth was hanging open. It felt like I was seeing it again for the first time. That’s what trauma is like. I thought, ‘What is happening?! What am I seeing?! Is this a bad dream?!’ These were the same thoughts I had as I watched the television in the library at St. Andrew’s School that morning twenty years ago and realized that the librarian who was standing next to me was screaming.

That’s one side of what I remember. But there is another side to that day that for me lies deeper in me.

I have one memory in particular that is just as alive in me and speaks a clearer truth and has laid a holier calling on my life. It was September 12, the next day. I stopped at a market on the way home to get a drink. As I was paying, I realized that the cashier – a man whose name tag read ‘Carl’ – was standing there just look at me silently. He hadn’t moved to pick up the two dollar bills I’d laid on the counter. We just looked at each other for what seemed a long time. Then he asked, finally, “Are you ok?” I said, “I think so.” We just stood there looking at each other. I said, “are you ok?” His lip started trembling and he said, “thank you. I think so.” I said, “God bless you, sir,” and he said, “God bless you, sir.” Sometimes when I think about the words ‘holy communion’, I think of that day and that man and for the holy communion we were given, because I promise you, Jesus was there.

As Christians, we do affirm that ‘the sin of the world’ is a persistent, purposive, destructive reality of our lives ‘this side of Eden’. But we live from the grace of the One who laid down his life for us and for all, for love. Grace abides with love stronger than death. That is God’s calling laid upon us. So we go in peace, day by day, seeking to give and receive Christ’s own holy communion, for his love’s sake.