Last week I was the celebrant at Holy Communion at the Sunday morning liturgies [the celebrant is the pastor who leads the Communion portion of our worship] and I had a, should we say, interesting experience. If you worship at Trinity in the main worship space, you’ll know that the chalices are very large, heavy clear glass. You can see the wine in the chalice, even at a distance. Again, if you have worshipped with us, you know that our altar faces the wall, so part of the Communion liturgy takes place with the pastor’s back toward the congregation. But at the central portion of all of this, when the pastor remembers the words of Jesus, “this is my body, … this is my blood,” we turn and face the congregation. At this point we elevate the bowl holding the hosts [bread] and the cup holding the wine.
Now here’s where the interesting moment happened for me. When I held the chalice higher, I caught a glimpse of the congregation through the chalice and through the wine. The chalice is clear glass, the wine we use isn’t a heavy red and the light was coming through the windows just right. And there was the whole congregation, the length of the Nave, the great Transfiguration window and the doors going out into the city – and I could see all of that through the chalice, through the wine.
Candidly, it was a startling theological moment. Jesus says at the Last Supper, “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [St Matthew 26:28] And there’s everybody in the Church and out the doors into the city, all seen through the cup holding the blood of Christ. I don’t know if the people who made the chalices knew that this might happen – but how could they? No one would know that the sort of wine we use is light enough, or where I would stand or that I would be tall enough to get this sort of view. And we certainly didn’t buy these glass chalices for that reason. We bought them because we needed a set of matching chalices and glass was a lot cheaper than silver and gold. But there, suddenly, out of these happenstance moments is an image of Jesus in the world.
I’ve found that a lot of things about God, about Jesus are like this. God and Jesus both are lurking in the very ordinary, mundane things, just waiting for us to notice. I would encourage you to look around yourself. Open yourself to the possibility that you just might glimpse the presence of Jesus in an unexpected place and an unexpected way.