Thoughts, Especially Around Holy Week Worship and Communion

Greetings in the Lord’s name. We trust you are keeping well and safe in these strange, uncharted days. As we think about our Holy Week and Easter services of worship, we wonder, “How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4) We hope we can be of help with a few thoughts, especially around communion.

This week I have had a number of inquiries about serving communion remotely as we come into Holy Week and Easter. The Presbyterian Church has spoken on this and the response is posted on the website, ( ) The quick answer is yes, it is permissible to serve communion remotely.

Our more recent days have been filled with conversations with lots of people, ministers, and church members alike, hearing of their unexpected experience of exhaustion and their feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious. Please know this is common with most everyone, whether they are locked in or going out to serve in essential services. We also received this article ( ) that, while written for the academic world speaks to the church world as well.  

Let us post a quote from the article:

“The answer to the question everyone is asking — “When will this be over?” — is simple and obvious, yet terribly hard to accept; The answer is never.

Global catastrophes change the world, and this pandemic is very much akin to a major war. Even if we contain the Covid-19 crisis within a few months, the legacy of this pandemic will live with us for years, perhaps decades to come. It will change the way we move, build, learn, and connect. There is simply no way that our lives will resume as if this had never happened.”

This truth seems to be slowly sinking in. Colleagues are adjusting, but finding themselves out of sorts in unexpected ways. We are hearing of our first congregations affected by Covid-19 deaths and illness. We are hearing of friends and family suddenly unemployed and uncertain of their future. We are hearing of tensions and anxieties amplified by this crisis.

All of this comes at the beginning of the most important week of the Christian year. This will be, for Tori and I, the first time in our lives we won’t physically be in church for these special services. I am sure it is the same for many of you.  As we consider this, a couple of thoughts.

·         If worship is different, let it be different. There are many who will be working hard to recreate, online, the normal Easter experience. For those who can do it, that is wonderful. For those who can’t, that is okay also. A colleague recently pointed out that the first Easter was witnessed by groups of two and three and that their initial response was fear. This is a far more fearful time than many of us and many of our congregants are admitting. Worship that looks and feels different might be a way to acknowledge that things are out of sorts.

·         Don’t sweat the small stuff.  This is especially true of communion. Let your people know that Jesus doesn’t care that it isn’t exactly wine or grape juice or the correct bread they put together at home. The last thing we need is people exposing themselves to get the ‘right’ communion elements for their homes.

·         If it hard to sing “Hallelujah” now, know that we will sing Hallelujah again. If the resurrection reminds us of anything it is that we are a people of hope and a people of joy, even in the midst of darkness, even in the midst of despair. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

May you and yours be blessed and safe this Easter season and may it be for all of us a time of hope as we understand anew the wonder of Christ’s love.

John-Peter & Tori Smit

Subscribe today to receive all our new blog posts directly to your email inbox!