One thing this virus thing should have caused for the church, is a serious reconsideration of how the body of believers have access to the body and blood of Christ. Should we, the body of Christ reevaluate our assumptions and preconceptions surrounding the roles of the priest and the congregation in the consecration of the elements? Under a necessary lockdown it has been possible for believers to communicate with one another in many ways other than by having physical contact or proximity, which for this unusual reason of quarantine, was rightly restricted and in most cases severely curtailed. The one supreme expression of Christian fellowship and family has been circumstantially denied the 'body' of Christ and only the 'heads' of each local 'body' could actually consecrate and receive the sacraments of bread and wine. The rest of the body had to simply look on via TV screens or computer monitors, while the 'head' received but the 'body' starved and thirsted. When lockdowns are finally a thing of the past and the body can once again meet and actually partake of these most blessed sacraments I think we should not forget this enforced famine through which the 'body' has come but through which the 'heads' were mercifully supplied by their own hand. Not that I am being envious of their privilege or suggesting that they did not agonise over the enforced gulf of separation imposed between them and their flocks as they celebrated the communion of the Lord's Supper alone or with only a spouse or immediate family members. I am quite sure they were as distressed by this situation as were the 'body' of believers watching on like the crowd of witnesses, compassing about from afar, mentioned by the author of Hebrews 12:1. The actual prayer of consecration comes from St Paul's recollection in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus - on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” - For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. The same St Paul previously had said this about the breaking and consecration of bread and wine: I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. - The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 1 Cor 10:15-17. Notice though that Paul does not say "the bread that only one of us is allowed to break" but "The bread that we (all) break". He does not say "The cup of blessing which the priest blesses", but "The cup of blessing that we (all) bless". Now before anyone accuses me of heresy and causing schism in the church, I am not suggesting that all and sundry can or should be allowed to consecrate the communion elements for the body of Christ, which is the church in any locality. What I am suggesting though is that we look at and consider just exactly what consecration of the elements entails and where the authority for the priest to perform the rite of consecration actually resides. The real difficulty in the lockdown was 'the body of Christ' being unable to actually approach the throne of heavenly grace and feed on Christ in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving. It was physically impossible to so do because the bread and wine was far distant in somebody else's house or a church that was closed by government edict, to 'the body of Christ'. But bread and wine were freely available to all who wanted them throughout the lockdown period. I had them in my home, as did many others. I could even listen to a priest, even to the shepherd of my own local flock, speaking the words of consecration over that bread and wine in my home, in lockdown, through the loudspeaker of my TV set or computer monitor. If the bread is broken by we, the 'body', and the cup is blessed by we, the 'body', and not only by he, the priest, then why is it that the bread and wine in our homes is not consecrated, and yet his is? Do you see the issue? I deliberately chose to use 'he' and 'his' rather than trying to find a less gender specific more generic term, because that is another theological hot potato that I don't have time or space to deal with here. The way I see it, and I may be wrong, but I don't think I am, we the 'body of Christ' have entrusted the priest with the honourable task of saying the words, breaking the bread and blessing the cup, on our behalf. The authority to perform those actions comes from Christ himself through 'the body' of the church, which is us. Even the oversight and authority of the Bishops is an extension of the authority of 'the body' of Christ, not by divine right, handed down by God above, to rule over the 'body of Christ' like earthly princes. They are servants of the servant, not earthly kings set in authority by God, but they are entitled to all the due respect and honour their position deserves from us disciples of their and our master, Jesus Christ. Wherever the words of consecration can be heard, wherever bread and wine are present, wherever a believing, spirit filled, disciple of Jesus Christ breaks bread and blesses the wine in the cup, and calls to remembrance Christ's once for all, sacrifice and propitiation for the sins of the whole world, Christ is with us to the end of the age and right THERE, is a valid sacrament. Jesus said we should remember him and what he has done for us, whenever we eat bread and drink wine, 1 Cor.11:25, not just once a week or once a month, at a specially religious occasion in a purpose built building. He was not saying we should become fanatically religious. He was saying we should become habitually grateful. So am I advocating the abolishment of the priesthood? Far from it, quite the opposite in fact. While we are able to gather together and honour those who preside at the Table of the Lord and who have been entrusted with the Care of our Souls, our Shepherds in the faith, ordained by God through our Bishops, we should continue to do so, thankfully, frequently and joyfully. If circumstances however conspire to deprive us of the comfort of the sacraments we should not despair. We each have bread, we each have wine, we each know the prayer of consecration, we each know our Master's promise to be with us to the end of the age. So let's not let our hearts be troubled, neither let us let them be afraid. Jesus does not give as the world gives and everything we receive from him needs no other intermediary. John 14:27. .