Wednesday, June 6, 2012

“Communion of Hearts”

United Methodist General Conference 2012
Does your church offer Communion every first Sunday? Can even this Christ-ordained sacrament become commonplace with repetition? My thoughts travel back to a particular Communion Sunday a few summers ago when God turned routine into extraordinary.

My husband, a pastor, likes to involve the laity in serving Communion. That Sunday, he asked me to help distribute the bread. Having participated in Communion all my life, I confidently agreed.

Sadly, familiarity tempered these sacred moments into little more than a tradition-steeped ritual during which my thoughts strayed to upcoming afternoon events or mulled over work that needed completed.

However, that morning, since I would be serving, I listened to the consecration of the elements more carefully. At the appropriate time Dick shared 1 Corinthians 11:23-25:

“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in memory of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, ‘This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.’” (TEV)

God’s Spirit permeated the words and penetrated my soul. My heart swelled with overwhelming gratitude for Christ’s selfless act of love.

Still a bit lost in contemplation I approached the altar area and was given the basket with the bread. As people came to receive the elements, I dutifully repeated, “The body of Christ, given for you.”

At first I merely spoke in rote. But looking into the eyes of the communicants, I saw great expectancy, reverence, and unshed tears glistening there. I began adding each individual’s name to the phrase. “The body of Christ, given for you, Cindy.”

I felt God prompting me to pray silently for each one. Thank You, Father, for the awesome way you are stirring Joe’s faith.

Suddenly God’s presence sanctified the moment and tears choked my throat. The phrase came out as a whisper, “The body of Christ, given for you.”

Communion will never be the same for me. May I never again mindlessly repeat the words and take the elements unaware of the price Christ paid.

What has made Communion meaningful for you? I would love to hear about it. Won’t you please share a bit of your story in the comments?


©2012 Pamela D. Williams