- Storied Church
Musings around Holy Communion
This past Sunday evening my family was invited to attend a service called "Queerly Beloved." A service led by the LGBTQ+ community. It has been a while since I have sat in a worship service and felt the Spirit of God wash over me. I don't think I have ever been to a worship service where people were being their most authentic selves. It was so empowering.
The most moving moment was seeing my daughter Laurel receive Communion. The person serving the bread kneeled down to Laurel, with vibrancy and joy, said to her, "You are a child of God."
There are many in this generation of all ages that would love to do away with ritual and tradition especially Holy Communion. Yet I think our feelings are misplaced.
What this person serving Communion spoke and displayed to me and my family is the life and vitality that exist in this sacrament. It is always a powerful grace regardless of how we might receive it. We are children of God who matter and are deeply loved.
The Eucharist also is known as the Lord's supper, Holy communion is a long-held Christian ritualistic tradition. Some churches participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion on high holy days such as Christmas Eve. Others on the first Sunday of the month. And some receive Holy Communion every Sunday.
Some traditions take it less often because they believe that Holy Communion becomes less meaningful if it is taken more often. Other traditions partake in it more often but more so out of religious compulsion or duty.
Infants and children are often not allowed at the table until they are able to make a public profession of Jesus Christ. And for the same reason, those that are non-affirming Christ-followers are not welcome either. I recently went to a worship service where they invited people to the table by saying, "We invite you to come forward if you believe in Jesus." So all those who don't affirm this truth are not welcome. It does seem blunt to say that but nonetheless that is the truth.
We all come to the table with a plethora of images, experiences, and histories. And all of these images form how we experience the present.
We believe as a church that God has called us to set this table of Holy Communion as often as we gather together. We want this table to be a part of not just our worship experiences but also those simple moments of gathering around a shared meal together.
This table has and will form the type of community of faith we will be. The story we tell at the table is one of a disparate, ragtag group of people who shared a common thread together, Jesus. Jesus' call to them was to be the table for others who had no communion, to welcome the stranger, and to build strong, enduring friendships.
So at this table, all are welcome. And it is not because we said so.
But we feel strongly that God said so.
Infants, children, non-affirming Christ-followers, Christ-followers, seekers, those with questions, those who think they have the world figured out, agnostics, atheists... you get my gist.
Because we believe at this table and the tables we all feast carries the possibility of those we consider strangers becoming good friends.
At the end of the day here is what we want people to know about the Eucharist.
Communion is God saying to us, "I love you, I affirm you, And you matter."
Communion is God saying to us, "I will sustain you."
Communion is God inviting us into community and to participate in doing all the good we can.
Is communion more than just these three things? Absolutely. But it is never less.