My sister, after years away from the faith, came home to Christ in the Lutheran church. The transition back into the church world, while…
There are times when the body, that is, the church, is out of sorts too. Fractured relationships, broken trust, as Paul alludes to in his letter to the contentious Corinthians, jealousy over not getting to be the part of the body you want to be, pride – all of these and more tend to dismember us, if not in actual people leaving the church, at least in a virtual distance even if we’re in the same space to worship or to learn or to break bread. There are times where you just don’t “feel like” it…like breaking bread with him or her or them. “Ugh! I have to share at the table with them?”
You also don’t have time for a one-on-one visit with every individual person to offer a uniquely tailored word of pastoral wisdom, and not everyone would want it or welcome it if you did. Instead, you have Sunday morning: a worship service following a very tumultuous week.
You know that you yourself are likely tired of election-related headlines, posts, interviews and memes. While the nation quarrels, the bulletin still has to be printed, the PowerPoint prepped, the hospital visits made, the insurance paperwork filled out.
What will you do with your ten or twenty or thirty minutes?
The idea of the future has a mysterious quality to it because it is always beyond us, in one sense not yet fulfilled. As you look ahead, what do you anticipate about the future? What concerns or fears do you have? Do you think that in the midst of the inevitable uncertainty regarding various aspects of our future, there is still reason to be hopeful about what lies ahead for you, for your family, or for others? Why or why not?
Remember how much we see Jesus eating with people all the time in the Gospels? The simple and uneventful act of eating with people was central to his mission, and it’s not that difficult. That’s what the early church did. They met with one another in their homes, breaking bread, and telling others about Jesus. Likewise, when we invite others to share a meal, this is extremely meaningful cross-culturally. When we eat together, we discover the inherent humanity of all people. We share stories, hopes, fears, and disappointments. People open up to each other. And we can open up to them to share the same things, including telling them about the truly human one…
A covenant between parties is a two-way street. We aren’t mere recipients of Jesus’ salvific act. We aren’t coming to the table just to “remember,” and proclaim a big hearty “thank you.” We are called to obedience, to be faithful to the covenant in which we have been inaugurated. We are eating and drinking the atonement. We are being baptized into it. We are committing ourselves to the baptismal life, the-dying-and-rising-to-Christ life.
It has been said that the dinner table—that place where we eat, talk, and share life together with others—is an extension of the Eucharist. For you and your family, what has been the significance of feasting at family gatherings? How does the act of eating together promote fellowship and community? How is that also true for us all in the Lord’s Supper?
We know that what we do here in Holy Communion is look forward to that day when life will finally be the way God wants it to be.
“How is memory significant for us as God’s people? Why is it important for us to remember, and what specifically should we remember most?”
“There I was, the new pastor of a church that had a strong, proud heritage but more recently had experienced several decades of slow decline while nobly carrying on, a congregation like so many others these days. I was trying to envision through hope-filled eyes the potential for renewal and growth in that setting, but as I stepped into the prayer chapel that day almost all I could see was a bunch of clutter in a space that was supposed to be devoted to prayer.”