Sunday, March 20, 2016

Communion at the Episcopal Chapel in Chauauqua, New York - "Receive what you are: The Body of Christ."

The pews were full when I arrived so I took a seat in the last row. Growing up in the Episcopal church, I appreciated the opportunity to hear the familiar liturgy that sustained and nurtured me.

Every summer Mike and I spend a week at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York. Last year I decided to begin the week by attending the 8:15 am Monday morning communion service in the small Episcopal chapel on the grounds.

When it was time to receive communion, I joined the line that progressed to the front. I opened my hands and heard the priest say as he placed the bread, "Receive what you are ------- the body of Christ."

I carried these words in my heart back to the pew as the liturgy continued, ending with a benediction and blessing. After the service, I walked quickly along the cobblestone way, back to my room to collect materials I needed to teach my morning class still reflecting on words I'd never heard before receiving communion.

I am accustomed to hearing the pastor say, "The body of Christ, broken for you." These new words from the priest became a charge for my day, a focus for each moment, energized by beginning the day with communion.

Prayer: God, we are your body and our mission is to love and serve you wherever our day takes us. Open our hearts and sharpen our vision to become your body to those around us and to those we hold in our hearts, so we can bless others as you have blessed us. Amen.


  1. "Receive what you are....the body of Christ." You are so quick to pick up on moments and then reflect them and expand on them for yourself and for your readers. What a beautiful thought, that we receive the bread as the body of both meanings (the bread represents Christ's physical body and the Church). Thank you for sharing the moment in the chapel with us.