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Virtual Communion, COVID-19, and the Nature of the Body of Christ

12 October 2020

In his memoirs, Jürgen Moltmann (2009) describes two different Eucharists in which he participated in 1968. One was with Protestants and Catholics at the London offices of the publisher Sheed and Ward before an anti-Vietnam War protest. The second was at the historic St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, after a formal lecture, where the Lord’s Supper was served on silver trays by uniformed servers. To Moltmann, the first celebration evoked Christ’s presence; the second left him depressed. Of course, the first Eucharist challenged denominational boundaries and connected him to the ‘streets of the poor who follow Jesus’, but Moltmann also distinguishes the two Eucharists in physical language. At the first, ‘Bread and wine passed from hand to hand in a small circle’; at the second, ‘The participants sat separate from one another, scattered here and there in the great church’ (Moltmann, 2009, p. 164).

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