Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Not this

More like this

Wednesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. means Holy Eucharist with Healing at St. Christopher’s. It’s a holy service with about twenty-five to thirty people taking communion and ten or so coming up for anointing with oil and healing prayer. We are coming to the end of the rainy season here in Panamá, which means it rains a lot for the next month. People try to get out of the rain, animals try to get out of the rain, and insects try to get out of the rain. Only plants really want to be in the rain. Living in Panamá one realises that this planet actually belongs to the insects; they merely tolerate the other species. Celebrating the Eucharist in an insect-heavy nation helps one understand the importance of the pall, and I keep that square on top of the chalice for as long as possible, to avoid our insect brothers and sisters from committing suicidal drownings in the wine. I prefer to use pita (pocket) bread rather than ostias (wafers) for communion; I like the symbology of using a large piece of bread and pita tastes much better than those wafers (I remember the Rev. Dr. Lois Weil referring to them as “fish food”, well, maybe it was a classmate). This morning, as the congregation sang the Offertory Hymn with vigor, and the acolyte handed me the covered bread on its plate, I noticed an ant land on the corporal. I swept it aside (I am not a Jain!) and thought, “maybe I should check this out” I lifted the cloth covering the bread for a peek, and the bread looked as if it was moving! What was going to become the Body of Our Lord was crawling with ants! I moved swiftly to the sacristy (no iguanas this morning) and deposited the bread and plate into the sink and grabbed a paten, found a host, and returned to the altar before the hymn ended. I guess the ants were avoiding the morning rain and discovered breakfast! No extra protein with communion this morning.

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