Calvary friends sometimes ask why I like serving as a Eucharistic Minister. I usually just quip that it’s like being an acolyte—only so much easier—and I adored being an acolyte at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, where I grew up.
The longer answer, though, which is also why I loved being an acolyte, is that as an EM I get to experience everything going on in the service up close. I can smell the flowers; I can feel the air conditioning coming from the vent beside the altar; I can look over the shoulder of a chorister and follow along during the anthem; I can hear the tiny clink of the glass cruet stopper; I can see one priest holding his finger at lines in the Book of Common Prayer to help his colleague keep her place while reading the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
I believe in the communion of the saints—that we, the living, are on one side of the communion rail and that the departed, those who have already moved “from strength to strength” (BCP), are on the other. On a Sunday morning at Calvary, you and I, on both sides of the visible rail, are bound together in a shared faith and hope, as well as in a shared human frailty—my shaking hand, with yours, trying to get that chalice to your lips without spilling anything or somehow making a mess of things—though I will, of course, some day, and I know you’ll understand and forgive me, as will the dearly departed saints on the other side of the rail and as does our God.