I will be honest, I would not have been at the Cathedral if my daughter was not singing, but God gave me time to reflect on the Embodiment of Christ, digitalisation and online community being the future.
The service is ancient, proceeds the reformation, and you parade around the Cathedral with the Host held high in an ornate holder. The ritual is steeped in tradition, and many of the medieval ornate carvings in the choir stalls, indicate the central part of Christ being the vine shared in the Eucharist. It is a full smells and bells service, with burning of frankincense.
The Sermon focussed on Christ being the focal point of community, a coming together of like-minded people to share in Christ, the act of confession, and restoration due to the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Some online communities give a greater sense of fellowship, and a sense of belonging to a different expression of faith outside of the established Church. What if you cannot make the physical journey to be present? You are excluded.
The act of communion itself has been made divisive and exclusive with Sacramental ritual. Can a menstruating population be allowed to bless these Holy items? Some still believe it only to be a male prerogative. This cannot go unchallenged.
A virtual communion is classed as sacrilege, a trivialisation of the process. But it is the Church that is holding onto the physical incorporation of Christ, and not understanding the significance of the online community. I have entered debates about how Jesus would perceive this, upsetting somebody in New York whom has the privilege of holding the keys to the cupboard where the sacramental hardware is kept. I did not know it was such a special job (sorry).
So we have a new dialectic. How can the embodiment of Christ become ‘real’ to the online community. A new ritual will emerge, Jesus will not be contained in a flashy ritualised procession. The misericords of yesteryear will take on a new digitalised imagery, as people of tomorrow make sense of incorporating Christ to worship online.
Most worshipping communities have respectfully steered clear of the act, but it is being criticised. People of Christ whom meet online, want to share Christ in Communion. How can this be respectfully facilitated, not trivialised, nor condemned by the established church? Well what would Jesus do? Oh yes he had a few friends round, and broke bread.