Eucharistic Bunnies

downloadYes, bunnies and Eucharist. No, I’m not going crazy . . . well, not any crazier . . . I hope. And no, it’s not about the Easter Bunny either.

Actually, let me go back several years. Picture it, Scotland, 1999. I was studying abroad for a semester at St. Andrews, and there was this field near my residence hall. I was walking through it one day on my way to the computer lab. Then I saw a pair of little baby rabbits next to their warren. Cute would be an understatement. However, something odd happened next. For a brief moment, I was overcome with wonder. It was almost as if eternity opened up and blossomed before me. I’m not really sure how to describe it except that everything seemed to just fit together.

allsaints03Since then I’ve had a couple of other “bunny moments.” Once was a time a couple years later when I had too much pain medication after a major surgery. Having been resuscitated, I felt like I had a glimpse, an almost tangible glimpse of the Communion of Saints. It was a moment when I came to understand prayer as not just a conversation between me and God but also the threads connecting all of us together with God and each other. (I’ll write more about this experience another time.)

Another time I’ve experienced one of these “bunny moments” was just after receiving communion at church. Again, I could feel the threads connecting all of us. Bones, muscles, sinews, skin, all making up the Body of Christ. Credo in . . . sanctorum communionem in the Apostles’ Creed. “I believe in . . . the Communion of Saints.” the_holy_eucharistLiterally, though, it’s “the communion of holies.” That can be either “holy persons” (saints) or “holy things” (the Eucharist). In a way, they become the same. In the Greek liturgy, the priest says, Τὰ Ἅγια τοῖς ἁγίοις, “The Holy [Gifts] for the Holy [People],” in announcing communion. The people reply, “One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.”

How can one fully describe an experience of the holy like that? To feel yourself part of that larger whole? Not just in some shallow feeling but deep in one’s bones? Well, you can’t, at least not completely. It’s also not something that happens every time or even really more than once or twice perhaps. Most of time (okay, almost all the time), nothing really special appears to happen; but I still know it does. I haven’t had many “bunny moments” since then, but from time to time I remember them quite viscerally.

Likewise, in the Eucharist, we do it remembrance of Christ, not a simple mental remembrance but a full body remembrance. Not just of the Last Supper or even His Crucifixion and Resurrection, but also His Incarnation. In Holy Communion, we experience in some way the union of the divine with the human. We hear the Word resounding from the ordinary materiality of life. We see the fire of the Spirit breaking forth, the world “charged with the grandeur of God,” to quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins. Who knew a simple walk through a field in Scotland would teach me so much?

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Okay, I had to get the Easter Bunny in somehow. . . . I’m going to hell for this, aren’t I?

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