My dream is to be a host of a Eucharistic celebration. Like the earliest Christ-followers we hear of in the New Testament, this is a gathering of an extended family that all claims the same parentage as Jesus, rooted in a local community, who come together to taste and see that the Lord is good. I open the doors of this house and invite people in to shares songs of joy and lament, and to feast. I didn’t build this house–we all own it in common; we are all hosts. We are all the Body of Christ. I just accepted the responsibility to unlock the doors, organize the feast, and make sure the guests are welcome in its walls and travel safely when they return to their own homes. When they are in this house, I want to help everyone see Jesus, in the Word, in each other, and in the breaking of the bread.
I also hold a key to unlock the chains of shame and fear that keep people separated from this church family and each other. The key is the Word of God that says sin is no-thing, our debts are all forgiven, and not even death can conquer love. I can offer that liberating word to everyone assembled for our love feasts, and I can offer it to individuals who come to me in secret, and to those sitting on the park benches across the street, eying our house with skepticism.
I can lay my hands on people, to share healing and spiritual power. I can baptize, I can anoint. I can connect and conquer loneliness through the miracle of touch. I am Christ’s hands in my little corner of the world.
My dream isn’t innovative; it is two thousand years old. And I’ve seen a woman doing these very things in a church just 10 minutes from me. Now I see her multiple times a week on Facebook and on Zoom, innovating her means of communication but not her mission; mourning the loss of touch and the pain in her community, but rejoicing in their capacity to keep feeding the hungry and meeting together. This is a dream that seems well within the realm of the possible, because I know it has been and it is now a realidad in some assemblies.
I am not going to be gaslit anymore. Jesus never said a penis was a prerequisite to holding these keys. Paul never said that either. Ancient Christian art cries out in testimony to the women who performed these roles, even though jealous clerics silenced them in “approved” texts. Christ is present with ten times more intensity in the Eucharist consecrated by Rev. Mary Kay than any Catholic priest has confected before me. I have led communion and Lenten and Easter liturgies myself this year, gathering in friends and strangers hungry for the Word and Christian connection to my dining room and to my social media spaces. I will not be recalled to the kitchen by Marthas; Jesus himself told me I’ve chosen the better part.
What “ever shall be” is the light of Christ passed from one generation to the next. Rev. Mary Kay is about old enough to be my mother; faithful ministers like her are not a foundation but an inspiration. There is always need of more generous hosts, for tomorrow’s banquets, for the new churches still being planted in our growing community, for old churches in need of another resurrection. I just need to prepare myself for the day when that special torch, given in the laying on of hands, will be passed to me.