Pastor’s Corner (10/31/19)
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. I Cor. 11:23-26
One of the joys of serving this congregation as pastor is presiding at the Lord’s Table every week. In many traditions, the Lord’s Supper is only shared on a monthly basis. In fact, in the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in the Czech Republic, many congregations only have Communion on a quarterly basis. So, I really enjoy the practice of sharing Communion weekly. It is intentional that the Communion Table is in a central location in the chancel and is raised up to be visible to all. The lectern and pulpit are on the same level to emphasize the equal importance of the proclamation of the Word and the sharing of the Word tangibly in the Lord’s Supper.
Last Sunday, 27 October, we celebrated Reformation Sunday. One of the main issues of the Reformation was the importance of the Lord’s Supper and it’s availability to all. During the Middle Ages only the clergy could partake of both the bread and the wine. Reformers, like Jan Hus in Bohemia, insisted that Jesus shared both the bread and the wine with the Disciples at the Last Supper and so both elements should be shared as we celebrate that feast. The Reformers also insisted that the Church was called to be reformed and always reforming. As children of the Reformation, we are proud to be part of that tradition. We are part of the Reformed tradition and we are also “always reforming.” Our practices around the Lord’s Supper are often being reformed. We are called to reform as a way of remaining sensitive to the needs of those who worship, and at the same time, being aware of the theological foundations that ground us.
Here at FCC, reformation and change are not taken lightly or done frivolously. This congregation, like most others, has a process in place that oversees our life together. Leaders are elected by the congregation and others step forward to act on behalf of the Body of Christ’s expression here at FCC. In consultation with me, as the pastor, and Mark Miller, as the Director of Music, the Worship Team attends to the worship life of this congregation. A great deal of thought and planning goes into worship since it is the very heart of what we do and who we are. In response to the desire to live out our call to be a community with a truly open and welcoming Table, the Worship Team examined our practices around the Lord’s Supper. It was determined that it was important to have one type of bread available to all people, so after diligent discussion and searching, a gluten-free bread was chosen that was acceptable to everyone. This eliminated the need for different breads and the separation of those with gluten allergies and those without. It was also determined that one bread for everyone was a tangible expression of our call to unity at the Lord’s Table. The challenge of course, is that change of any type is difficult for many of us. We also came to realize that perhaps we had not as clearly communicated this change as we thought we had. Reform and change are not done simply to shake things up. Reform is a way of striving to remain faithful to God’s vision for us as a community of faith and as an expression of Christ’s body.
As we gather together weekly to share in the Lord’s Supper may we be reminded of all the ways this feast binds us together as the Body of Christ that is FCC and with the Body of Christ all around the world and throughout time.
With peace and love,