Monday, October 03, 2005

It's a Small World, part 2

October 2 was World Communion Sunday, the day when Christians are mindful that though we worship separately and in many different ways, it is Communion that binds us together. At my church we had people from the congregation read the words "These are the gifts of God for the people of God; come, for all things are ready" in Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, and Armenian.

Earlier this summer I spoke at the funeral of the mother of a member of the church that I was serving. The mother was Catholic so the funeral was held at her parish. The monsignor of the parish informed me that since Communion would be celebrated I could not sit up front with him nor could I or the mother's daughter and her family receive the sacrament. The odd thing was this did not seem to cause him any sadness or any need to apologize. From where I stood we were looking at each other across the gulf of history, a history that included the need for ritual cleansing when a Jew came into contact with a Gentile. Yet Christ ate and drank with Gentiles, and visited with them in their homes because God's love knows no barriers. However, this irony appeared to be lost on my colleague, my brother in Christ. And so during Communion I prayed Jesus' prayer in the gospel of John, "that they may all be one".

The highest court in our country may make a big deal about the first Monday in October but in the Church, the first Sunday in October is a huge deal. Different languages, different traditions all proclaiming the same truth: This is the body of Christ broken for you; this is the blood of Christ shed for you; do this in remembrance of me. Strangely enough, Christ's body is still broken into Catholic and Orthodox and so many Protestants we need more fingers and toes to count them.

Yet the new physics that is slowly becoming a part of our consciousness tells us that we don't have to be in the same room in order to be connected with one another. Once two particles have been associated with one another, no matter where they are, they behave as though they are still related. They behave as though they were the same electron. The reality we conceive as many is really and truly one.

There's a group of scientists at Princeton who are studying
global consciousness . They propose that human consciousness and volition can affect the material world, especially events of deep meaning, like New Year's Eve, natural disasters, a call to national or even global prayer, and September 11, 2001. Events that bring us together as a human family, that have a depth of emotion and focus, seem to be able to affect the results of random number generators, producing curves of numbers that suggest a coherence of thought and will.

The hope of Communion is that one day we will realize that we are one, not only with other Christians but with all people and all of creation; that our participation in this simple meal will affect our material world in such a way as to reveal our coherence, the delicate yet resilient web that we are all a part of.

My almost 6-yr. old daughter calls this sacrament "Community". From the mouths of babes.

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