Since the New Year, I’ve been stopping at the Chicago Temple on Wednesday mornings for communion. For at least 40 years, this downtown United Methodist church has offered communion to city dwellers and commuters during the morning rush. At 7:30, Phil Blackwell–who inherited the tradition–consecrates the elements with whomever happens to be in the room at the moment. For the next 90 minutes, communion and a simple prayer are offered for anyone who walks in.
The communion, offered without a traditional liturgy, could very well have an “express lane” feel. When I first heard about this communal rite, I wondered: theologically, what is communion absent community? Culturally, why do I and others imagine we don’t have time for liturgy? Ecclesiastically, what is communion that is all take (on my part) and no give?
But Blackwell and associate pastors Claude King and Wendy Witt all say the early-morning communion is a personal highlight of their ministries….