Eat the Livestream: Hybrid Communion in a Digital Era of Worship Open Access

Natwick, Joseph (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL:


Holy Communion is a central component of Lutheran hybrid worship (worship that takes place both in-person and online, on TV, on the radio, or in other digitally mediated modes). Hybrid Communion practices are rooted in the theology and history of the Lutheran movement. For those who worship in digitally mediated, non-traditional settings, Communion allows worshipers to unite with the real presence of Christ in tangible form. In an otherwise largely audio/visual experience, hybrid Communion honors the fullness of the whole human body at worship. Hybrid Communion practices also expand worshipers’ understanding of the effect of Communion, that is being united in the meal with the whole fellowship of the saints – those we can see and those we cannot.


Lutheran congregations who gather in hybrid worship settings in this new digital era of worship should reconsider how they educate people for Holy Communion, prioritizing readily available, on-demand resources for adults and the unchurched. Hybrid worshipping congregations should also consider issues of access: namely access to sacramental materials, intuitive digital platforms, and high-quality livestreams. And lastly, congregations must reexamine the language of their liturgies to include the whole hybrid assembly. Two places in the liturgy in particular need of examination for hybrid Communion are the invitation to Communion and the distribution. This new digital era of worship, accelerated by the societal effects of Covid-19, will push the boundaries of the church’s worship spaces and who we consider gathered in an assembly. Leaning on the theology of the incarnation, the church can enter confidently into our technology-shaped world caring for and honoring the bodies God has made and Christ has redeemed.

Table of Contents

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files