Yesterday at the church I go to was Communion Sunday. ?I have to admit that one of the things I miss from my previous church is weekly communion. ?To me, not sharing the bread and wine feels like a part of the service is missing.
A Little Bread, A Little Wine
But I do love how our church now celebrates communion. ?The whole service is oriented around it. ?Instead of a traditional sermon, the pastor offers a reflection and some questions for interaction. ?We sit around tables during the service and then serve each other the bread and wine. ?I love these services.
Yesterday was particularly special. ?We reflected on the life of Brother Yun, a leader of the house church movement in China. But even more special is that I got to share (and serve) communion with someone from my previous church.
It wasn't planned. ?We ran into each other in the parking lot. ?We haven't seen each other or spoken since I resigned from the church over 18 months ago. ?Sadly, that is how most of the relationships at that church were left. ?I never had an opportunity to talk directly with members, ask their forgiveness, etc. ?I was asked not to initiate contact with people in the congregation and was just gone. ?Most, either out of anger or awkwardness, never contacted me.
But it didn't feel awkward at all yesterday. ?We walked in together. Sat together. Worshiped together. And served each communion.
That was powerful. ?There is something about serving and being served the bread and the wine that creates healing, wholeness and reconciliation — even without words. ?I think Jesus knows this and that is why He gave us the gift of bread and wine — of sacrament. ?For sacrament is grace. ?And as the theologians would say, sacraments are "efficacious" — that is, they accomplish that which God wants to accomplish.
I have often said that I believe that the local church is the hope of the world. ?A lot of people make fun of me for saying that. ?Or are critical. ?Or scoff. ?But where else does this happen? ?Where else can you experience this kind of God-orchestrated grace?
And think about the other things that happened Sunday morning… joint prayers, friends connecting, strangers being welcomed, sharing of stories and our collective history, a multi-generational discussion of faith and life (during the reflection and share time, a very articulate 7th grader fully participated as did a military veteran, a young mother, a 20-something, etc), and a shared collection of funds to help those in Japan.
Where else do these things happen together, regularly and intentionally — except in the local church.
It turns out that a little bread and a little wine can go along way…
Grace. Reconciliation. Mission. Fellowship. Unity.