“This is the Real World”


Image Description: A communion set with a cup, pitcher, and plate of bread is on my dining room table. The set was created by Karla Johnston-Krase, and it has beautiful colors of red, orange, yellow, and brown.

If you would have asked me last year, or frankly, at any point in my life, if I would have foreseen occasions when I might break bread, pour wine, and practice communion over a video conferencing platform called Zoom, the scenario would have never crossed my mind.

But I did do this for the first time with a church community today, and it invigorated me. There’s something kind of odd about everyone being in their own separate places, providing whatever bread, juice, or wine they have to the moment. And yet, that feels beautiful too, like little loaves and fish multiplied into a feast of meaning (fish metaphorically, of course, unless someone brought some without me knowing!)

Over the last couple of years, my communion prayers have become remarkably mystic in their language and imagery. Wherever we are, we are connected… frankly, to everything. All the lives and loves that have preceded us… all eras of time… all of the earth… all the cosmos… all sacred meaning… all the ways that God, The Sacred, has shown up and will show up. And all of this becomes revealed in incarnation… Jesus journeying with us and accompanying the many outcasts of every time, revealing a love that threatens power… the time and place of this specific meal… this bread and this cup… this gathered community.

This Zoomunity for Sacred Zoomunion.

Okay, that’s silly, but is that not incarnational too? So specific to this time, these needs, and these people before us?

All I know is that when we shared visions, words, and dreams like this today, I felt fully alive. And I felt a lot of love made real.

And I thought about something that David Nelson Roth used to say. He is my most formative predecessor, a Balcony Person among that Great Cloud of Witnesses that surrounds us in such a meal.

He, too, a pastor, said this,

“Sometimes people think we gather together for worship to escape the real world. But this is the real world.”

Together, in this communal setting, we are invited to ponder what is most real, most true, and most sacred — what undergirds our living and calls it to traverse pathways we haven’t fully realized.

This Love.

This Love is the real world, inviting our living in its direction.

Renee Roederer

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