Tag Archives: Lord’s Supper

All distance falls away

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All distance falls away at the Lord’s table.

Today, with the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, I will celebrate and participate in virtual communion. We will spiritually connect as we physically distance.

To prepare, I offered the invitation to explore the meaning of communion by reflecting on past experiences of the sacrament. What did they have to teach us? What might we learn for today’s service?

Listening to myself for once, I did that. While I was washing the dishes, I recalled a communion service ten years ago.

During Holy Week of 2010, I took part in a meeting related to the Accompaniment Program of the Presbyterian Church in Colombia, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Leaders in the Presbyterian Church of Colombia are taking great risks in their human rights work and their support of the communities of Colombians who have been displaced by the over forty years of violence in their country. They have asked Presbyterians from the United States to act as international accompaniers in order to provide a measure of safety—international eyes—for their work. The program started in 2004 and continues today. Over 100 accompaniers have served to date. Learn more about the program here:.

Since it was Holy Week, I had the privilege to worship with the Communidad del Camino in Barranquilla. The community honored me by inviting me to preach. Germán Zárate translated my words.

With the Rev. Adriano Portillo and the Rev. Dayro Aranzalez, I helped celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The precious memory flooded over me as the water flowed over the dishes in my sink.

And I knew that whenever and wherever bread is broken and the cup is shared (in whatever form they take), the people of the Communidad del Camino, the people of the church in Colombia, the people of the church around the world, the people whose names I know, whose names I have forgotten, whose names I never knew, they all meet at the table. Miles apart, in Christ we are together.

Tonight, we gather at separate tables, scattered around Queens and Manhattan in my case. But in Christ, those tables become one—Christ’s table. Though physically distant, we gather in spiritual solidarity. And we gather with the church in all places and all times. One body. As we share in the meal Christ has prepared for us this night, I will remember that and smile.

All distance falls away at the Lord’s table.

 

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A mystery I am thankful for

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World Communion Sunday.
7 October 2018
First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.

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An act of commitment

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Staff and friends of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gathered this morning at the Presbyterian Center for a chapel service in response to racism and white supremacy in Charlottesville and other places. (An archived live stream of the service is available.)

My colleague and friend, José Luis Casal, director of World Mission, helped celebrate communion.

During the Words of Institution, José Luis observed that, “The bodies of all who have been victims of injustice, the victims of rejection, the victims of violence…are the body of Jesus Christ.”

He reminded us that to come to the table and to partake of the bread and the cup is to commit ourselves personally to stand on the side of love with Jesus and to work against racism, white supremacy, every form of systemic oppression, violence and all that harms any of God’s precious children.

Silently, I shouted “Amen” as loudly as I could.

And I wondered—when the Presbyterian Center or any church or worshipping community gathers to celebrate communion, isn’t that organization making a similar statement? The act of gathering at Christ’s table is, for the community as well, a radical act of commitment to Jesus and to justice, to love and to grace.

May it be so. Amen.

See you along the Trail.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Marissa Galván who posted some of José Luis’s word and inspired me to write this post. The image appeared on the cover of the worship bulletin this morning. View the bulletin for the service

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Friends, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Worship