Thursday, August 15, 2013

Update and A Few Words about Communion

From Greenville, to the beach, back to Dallas, and now in Houston, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind! (In a good way). I hope to write some about my trip(s) soon but I have not had the time or brain power to process it all yet. Currently, my mom and I are at MD Anderson, a world renowned cancer center in Houston. It is amazing! All I've been able to squeak out so far is a post I had to write for my church this week, so I'm going to share it here. Thoughts about communion have been on my mind a lot lately as I've traveled from one place to another, but feeling sustained by the constancy of Christ's presence wherever I am.

Why Weekly Communion?

At All Saints, we celebrate the Eucharist every week. For some of our congregants, this is what they’ve always known.  For others of us— who come from different church traditions— the weekly breaking of bread might feel foreign. There are many reasons the church throughout history has prioritized this important practice, but I would like to share just a few ways it has shaped my own worship, and why I’ve come to love celebrating it weekly.

First, it is a tangible reminder that we all belong to each other. The next time you are at the rail, look around you. All the faces, all the hands outstretched—these are people for whom Jesus died. That means they are your family. Breaking bread together every week reminds us that to be a Christian is to be a part of a community: the community of Christ’s body.

Second, it is an anchor in the midst of our ups and downs. Let’s face it, being a Christian is hard. Some days following Jesus feels easy and natural; other days are so difficult, we feel like frauds. The beauty of communion is that whatever the season, whatever our current state—whether we’ve been “good” or “bad” any given week—Jesus offers Himself to us fully and freely. He invites us to His table without hesitation because our fellowship with Him is based on His goodness, not ours.

Third, it reminds us what the Christian life is really all about: communion. Christ paid for our sins by sacrificing Himself, and the bread and wine remind us of that. But why did He do it in the first place? So that we can commune with Him.  The ultimate reward and treasure of the Christian life is not knowing information about God or even understanding what He did for us, but knowing Him and being one with Him. Jesus said as much in his prayer for all believers: “And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God.” (John 17:3) As a seminary student, this is an especially important reminder for me. If I spend four years studying His Word just to get more information, if I learn about God but fail to actually encounter Him and abide in Him, I will be missing the point. Communion forces me not to think of God as merely an idea or a subject of study— an “it” or “He,” but as a Person who invites me into relationship— a “You.” That is what the Christian life is all about.

How has participating in the Eucharist been meaningful in your life?

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