Carboot communion with the manna-mobile

‘Can God set a table in the desert?’ The people asked; and the answer is a resounding Yes! This week we kicked off carboot communion with the manna-mobile. That is, being a church that is too big to gather in one room under current restrictions, but small enough to be served in groups, we gathered in a backyard, under a carport, and in a driveway for prayer and communion, set up out of the boot of my car.

Since we are both literally on the road and figuratively in a wilderness-wandering time, the liturgy drew heavily on the stories of manna. Our ‘bread of presence’ was carefully placed, not in the Ark of the Covenant, but in our storytelling chest and then the carboot as a portable spiritual reminder of our faith. To drive the metaphor home, so to speak, in place of our usual communion loaf I baked a highly nutritious flaky bread scented with honey. Made with hemp, sunflower and sesame seeds, honey, coconut oil, buckwheat and salt, this bread contains almost all the nutrients we need for life’s journey: just like manna. And like all good liturgy, it was serious play: enacting and inhabiting the stories of our faith in a new, physical, joyful way.

As we gathered, prayed and took communion together, some of us were struck by the possibilities. Could we take this further on the road? people asked. Could we serve communion at the beach, at a picnic ground, on the civic green? And the answer is, Certainly! In recent weeks, we have been wondering about the future into which God is calling us. Could it include public liturgies held around town? With good reason, many local people experience immense fear and anxiety around entering a building identified as a church. But would some join us in an open air service? There is much food for thought here, but I ask you to wonder and pray about it with me.  Because, in the words of the final blessing in our carboot liturgy:

May the God who sets a table in the desert,
who feeds multitudes from a child’s generosity,
who feeds us with his own flesh and blood,
nourish and sustain us, and continue to transform us
into the very image of Christ: the Bread of Life.
We go in peace to love and feed the world:
In the name of Christ: Amen.

Once on a hillside, the disciples told Jesus that the people were hungry. He replied, ‘You feed them.‘ And so feeding people is our call, too. Is carboot communion with the manna-mobile one way for us to do this? What do you think?

Peace,
Alison

Emailed to Sanctuary, 10 June 2020 © Alison Sampson, 2020. Prayer draws on imagery from Psalm 78, Exodus 16, and John 6; and yes, I wrote the prayer.

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