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Science and Sacrament

Science and Sacrament

It was a little chill on Sunday morning. That temperature which in spring brings one out of doors in autumn brings out sweaters and shivers.

Sunday mornings are a whirl any more, especially every other week when we meet in person, between setting out tablets for Zoom and livestreams, the setting out of chairs and hand sanitizer, the warmly-masked greetings and the stern six-foot measure.

I ran back in to pick up a sermon from the printer, and while I was gone for two minutes, two drops of rain fell.

“It’s raining,” was the accusation when I re-emerged, and I fell into the role like a trap. I could almost hear my mother, “You won’t melt!”

Throughout the scant service, barely more than a half-hour, the clouds teased; umbrellas bounced up and down. I stood in my cardigan and stole behind a small, low altar, clinging obstinately to that other creed, the science that says that outdoor air is more effective at interrupting the spread of a pandemic virus than indoor seating allows as we circulated Word and Sacrament.

I confess it took all afternoon for the arthritic cold to leave my alcohol-infused fingers (hand sanitizer, let the reader understand). I may owe a few apologies there.

Yet in the moment of that shared miracle – Bread and Body after months of disembodiment – dropping luminous wafers into untouched, outstretched hands, for once, I honestly didn’t feel the cold.


The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Euclid, Ohio, and the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing. Her blog is over the water @rosalindhughes.com

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Scott Slater

Wonderfully written. Your use of COVID metaphor interwoven with sacrament is compelling. Thank you.

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