These days I spend a lot of time jotting down notes about Holy Communion on random pieces of paper, or typing onto whatever screen happens to be in front of me.  Sometimes it’s a strange new connection I’ve made between Communion and  some other random thing.  Other times it’s a mediocre insight that immediately raises three more questions.  Something on T.V. that shocks me into wondering once again how the Christian meal functions in such a cruel, crazy, beautiful world.

Picture me in a booth at a restaurant, somewhere just outside the city of Omelas.  More like a diner, maybe – like a Waffle House.  Smells like stale coffee and hash browns.  I’m scrawling with a slightly chewed ball point pen onto those flimsy, tri-fold napkins.  Ever tried it?  The ink stops coming out.  Something about the paper.  I keep scribbling to get the pen working again.  I’m going to put all these ideas together in one place, if I can just find a place to keep them…


Christopher Grundy is Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship and Associate Dean for the Chapel at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.  He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, and a co-author of The Work of the People: What We Do in Worship and Why, published by the Alban Institute.

Header Photos

Cup and Chalice – From a blog post (“Ortho Cuban”) on “Why Do We Use Bread and Wine?”

“The Embrace of Peace II” by George Tooker.  One of my favorite paintings ever.  It’s not Holy Communion, exactly, but I like to imagine that it’s the passing of the peace before, during or after it.  I sometimes like to put the passing of the peace after we share the elements, but before we offer a closing prayer of thanks.  We share food, we share the embrace of peace.

Torture Victim, Abu Ghraib Prison – Torture is a political technology of the body.  We in the U.S. have studied and promoted torture, mostly beyond our own borders, for decades.  Holy Communion is also a political technology of the body, meant to bring us into closer communion with God and each other.  You can get involved at the the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

Raspberries – Just love ’em, that’s all — especially on flourless chocolate torte.  Thanks to the folks at stock.xchng!  Free stock images.

Lunch Counter Integration Violence – Nashville, TN, February 1960.  Sort of an example of anti-communion, but also an example of courageous resistance for the sake of greater communion.

Sharing Bread – Great shot by David Zentz, taken at the First Church of the Brethren of Peoria.

Diner photo by Cavale Doom on Flickr.  Used under a Creative Commons license.

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