Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Our Weekly Communion

Each Sunday morning beginning at 10 am our time is divided up in these parts: gathering and greeting; centering ourselves for our time of worship; morning song; morning prayer and sharing; communion; holy conversations and lessons for children; benedictions; cooking together, saying grace and eating our meal together, opening our meal to all who come and taking it to those home-bound and leaving plenty of leftovers for those who come to our Center during the week.

Communion, the sharing of bread and juice of the vine, is an integral part of the way we build community, worship God, and strive to make Jesus visible in our world today. Just as our missional expression through the A Third Place Center is vital to our sense of ourselves as a church; just as our eating together a real meal we make with our own hands each week and offer to one another and to others, sometimes from food we have grown ourselves, so communion is part of what makes us church. Just as is the reciting of the Lord's Prayer each week, along with sharing the plate and cup as a reminder and a real presence of Jesus's spirit among us, our singing and our lighting candles and sharing prayers connects us with the followers of Jesus not only around the world each week, but through time as well. Just as our open table, our welcoming of all without giving any theological test, connects us with the free church tradition and those churches within it even if they are not Christian.

Communion evokes and captures all of that. Universal love, radical forgiveness, our communal being, freedom of thought as the way we experience God's freedom, and our ultimate mission to build community and to feed those in need in the world, feed them with food and drink, with friendship, and with a sense of mission to those around them, especially those who are different from them.

We sing the song Let us Break Bread Together as we begin to pass the bread of life and the cup of hope around our circle; we finish by singing We're Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table. It moves us from our own immediate community to the promise we make to participate with God in creating the Welcome Table that should be God's world.

Just as in the song Welcome Table, we have no fancy style. This past Sunday we actually used tortillas and Jarrittos mandarin soda; we gave the excuse that it was to celebrate Christianity in the southern hemisphere and Tres de Mayo, but it was really because we hadn't replenished in time the usual grape juice in the cup and the french rolls for the bread. It reminded us though that it is the spirit of communion, not the express elements of it physically, that make it a reminder of the sacred mission and meal in the Jesus tradition, the Jesus way, which goes back not just to his Last Supper and his institution of the meal done in remembrance of him, but is evocative of his total life--eating with sinners, creating a party and riot wherever he went--, of his death--broken bread like his body broken, like all our best ideals and relationships brokenness, reminders of our own and all mortality;--and of his resurrection, as he continually fed those who encountered him after Easter, and broke bread with them so they would recognize him.

Down below in the post from March 26, 2009 you can see the common liturgy we use around our time of communion.

But it is part of our very lifeblood of a community, and is why we do all we do in mission with others in all the ways you have read about here or will read about here in some very exciting news in the future. (Just when I didn't think more miracles could happen....)

I look forward to sharing with any of you more about our weekly communion, and to hear your thoughts as well.


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