Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | May 4, 2008

This is My Body

This morning at Burbank we celebrated the sacrament of communion, and it was announced that the tradition of only celebrating communion once a quarter has now been changed and will be now celebrated monthly, which I was thrilled to hear. It has actually been my biggest pet peeve about the church for my two and a half years there, the sacraments are not celebrated nearly enough in my opinion. In the Reformed tradition we believe the Word and the Sacraments go hand in hand, you cannot separate the two, the sacraments are the Word being enacted for all of us—we can experience the Word through the sacraments in a way more mysterious than any other way we experience the Word in this world. So when we only participate in communion once a quarter, I think we deprive our congregations of the chance to sit in wonder at the mystery of God’s grace on a more regular basis. Anyways, all that to say, I was thrilled to hear Ross say during the service that we will now be partaking of the Lord’s Supper together monthly.

Instead of having the ushers dismiss each row to go forward to receive the meal, the invitation was given to come as you feel led. In theory, and theologically, I appreciate this, however in practice…well….it kind of causes a bit of a traffic jam as everyone seems to take that to mean “get up all at once and move forward.” But hey, it’s LA, I may not like traffic jams of any kind, but I am learning to adapt. As I was standing in the center aisle, not really moving, just looking around and hearing the words being spoken to each person “this is the body of Christ, broken for you. This is the blood of Christ, shed for you” I realized in a powerful way that I was standing in the midst of the body of Christ. This is My body. Yes, Jesus was holding the bread when he said these words, but I believe he was also looking around at those seated around Him. This is my body. The young couple, expecting their first child, her hands protectively wrapped around the slight bulge in her stomach, his hand resting on her shoulder. The elderly woman limping down the aisle, cane in hand, leaning on the arm of an usher for support. The teenagers, coming together from their seats in the balcony, toes painted, hair styled, giggles sometimes too loud as they make their way down the aisle with hands open to receive the piece of bread. The middle aged son pushing his elderly mother down the aisle in the wheel chair. This is my body. The individual who insisted on creating drama and dissention at the last congregational meeting coming forward next to the single mother, baby in her arms. The beautiful, tragic, brokenness of humanity converged upon the center aisle of the church at the same time and slowly made their way forward to receive, with outstretched hands, a tiny morsel of nourishment. Yet somehow, in spite of the fact that one receives only a mouthful of bread, that seems to be enough. The congregation returns to their seats by the outside aisles, the teenagers still giggling, the son still wheeling his mother in her chair, the single mother still juggling her infant, and their problems have not magically disappeared. Yet we return to our seats having been fed, through the hearing of the Word and the enacting of the Word at the table, and somehow, that food is nourishment enough to carry us back into our lives of fragmentation and joy and brokenness and anticipation. And you can almost hear Jesus whisper… “This is my body. My beautiful, treasured possession, My gift to this world, the ones I will continue drawing to myself in order that they might be sent out, fed and nourished, to go love the world in the way I love this world. You are part of my body. I have fed you, I will continue to sustain you. Now go, go and love those I have placed in your life, for they are part of my body as well.”

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