Virtually Present or Truly Present:  On Deciding to Celebrate Holy Communion Online for Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday

by Pastor Bradley E. Schmeling, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Read Pastor Bradley’s full message.

Summary: Gloria Dei celebrated Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday in its online worship services. We will continue to include Holy Communion on the last Sunday of the month while we continue online worship. This time of pandemic is an extraordinary situation that calls for the strengthening of our faith, not just for the sake of us as individuals or for our family but so that we can be strengthened to serve our neighbor who is suffering and in need.  We gather. We hear the Word. We share the meal. And we are sent back out to be the church in a time of pandemic, our own service a sacrament for the world. While virtual community may not hold all the nuance, depth and power that an assembly of the faithful does on Sunday morning, it most certainly is the way that the body of Christ is being truly present to one another in this moment. For most of us, it is a genuine, faithful, Spirit-filled assembly. As always at Gloria Dei, we will celebrate the fullness of the rite: Word proclaimed, and sacrament administered within a Great Thanksgiving that blesses bread and wine as well as one another as recipients of God’s unconditional grace. We have some instructions below that will help you prepare so that we can with reverence and with great care celebrate Christ’s love in bread, wine, and the whole assembly. We encourage our community to gather in one of the live events so that we truly make an assembly across distance around the table, with open hands and eager hearts.