It is hard to believe that it is has been over seven months since we have gathered as a congregation and as the Body of Christ around the Communion Table.
When I first came here to serve as one of your pastors, I was especially moved by what it felt like to celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday at the 8:00 a.m. worship service. As we gather for a virtual celebration of Communion this Sunday, it is fitting that it is actually World Communion Sunday that brings us back to the table.
The thing I miss most in not celebrating Communion together as a congregation these days is being able to see all of your faces from behind the table, watching as the bread is broken and the cup is poured. In seminary I was taught to hold the bread and cup as high as possible so that the whole congregation could see them. That always felt a little awkward to me until I became a pastor and I saw the faces of congregants shifting in their seats to get the best view of the elements.
Communion is both a sacrament of remembrance and a sacrament of rehearsal.
At the table we remember that night Jesus sat with his disciples one last time, just as he had done hundreds of times before. He broke bread and shared a common cup as a sign to them that his sacrifice and the brokenness that he was about to experience would actually be a restoration of our human relationship with God.
As a rehearsal, gathering at the table gives us the opportunity to practice what it will mean for us to be gathered together at Christ’s table in the Kingdom of Heaven - gathered together with believers from every time and place. When we rehearse that future this Sunday, we will also in a way be rehearsing the much nearer future moment when we will once again gather as a family of faith in our Sanctuary and in our Chapel to share the sacrament together.
But it is important to remember that we also rehearse the gathering at that Kingdom table, each time we gather at table with one another, and especially when we gather at table with our partners from around the world. Often when our international Mission Partners come to Bryn Mawr to visit with us and share the vital work they are doing, we gather at table with them to share in fellowship. Breaking bread with one another in this way is a sign of our shared ministry and our shared commitment to being an active and compassionate part of the global Church.
This Sunday especially, I am delighted for you to hear from Jean-Luc Krieg, founding director of Urban Mosaic, our partner in Mexico City. Members of our congregation have sat at table with our partners in Mexico, sharing tortillas, rice and beans, empanadas, and tacos. But we also have shared our stories of faith, our community values, and our hopes for the world.
As we celebrate this weekend, we will rehearse and remember together: one another’s faces, and our shared meals from the past, as well as our hopes for that kind of sharing in the future. May we experience Christ in the breaking of the bread, and may we renew our connection to one another and to Christians around the world.
Sharing a snack with our partners in Syria in 2017.
Sharing dinner with mission co-worker Charles Johnson.
Sharing a meal with Urban Mosaic in 2019.