I was at St Luke’s yesterday morning. It is quite an Anglo-catholic church and so I was part of the altar party being a sub-deacon or something wearing more robes than I ever thought possible!
Anyway, that is not the important part. At the distribution of the elements, I was to give out the bread to half the congregation, while the priest did the other half. It was while giving blessing to those who did not receive and giving the bread to those who did, that I was struck with a sense of not being myself. It was as if I was almost watching myself do this, listening to the words I was saying. As I sat down at the end I felt the full effect of what had happened, the immense privilege it had been to be the one who poured out the grace of God for these people. I realised that it was not in the bread, or in anything to do with me, but in the eyes of those I was giving to, in the reception of something they believed and trusted me capable of giving, something without the grace of God I would not be capable to give and something which had been bestowed to them.
It doesn’t matter who it is doing the giving of bread / blessing, just that they understand the privilege they are given and that God will work through whoever is present and receptive to the nature of that giving. It was only in the response of the people that I saw this because they were able to bless me in the reception of the gift of God’s grace.
I hope that makes sense!