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The Table Will Be Wide

by Abi Foerster on June 11, 2024

And the Table Will Be Wide

A Blessing for World Communion Sunday *

And the table will be wide.
And the welcome will be wide.
And the arms will open wide to gather us in.
And our hearts will open wide to receive.

And we will come as children who trust there is enough.
And we will come unhindered and free.
And our aching will be met with bread.
And our sorrow will be met with wine.

And we will open our hands to the feast without shame.
And we will turn toward each other without fear.
And we will give up our appetite for despair.
And we will taste and know of delight.

And we will become bread for a hungering world.
And we will become drink for those who thirst.
And the blessed will become the blessing.
And everywhere will be the feast.

– Jan Richardson

* World Communion Sunday is the day when Christian churches around the world come to the Table of the Lord as an expression of their oneness in Jesus Christ.  It started in 1933.

LISTEN 

Remembrance Communion Song (youtube.com)

 

REFLECT

As you take a few deep breaths, bring to mind a notable memory of sharing communion.  If you have a journal nearby, take a moment to write down your memories and reflect where God has been present for you in this shared meal.

Holy Communion is one of two “sacraments” in our tradition. The other is baptism. A sacrament means an outward and visible sign of the inward working of God’s grace in our lives. In Communion, we remember how Jesus loved and fed his disciples and how he loves and feeds us. We remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. And Jesus promises that when we celebrate Communion, he will be present to us and with us in a special way – the grape juice and bread become his body offered for us on the cross and his blood shed for us on the cross.

This is mysterious and it can sound really weird and even creepy. But it is not meant to be offensive! Quite the opposite.  This sacred meal is meant to draw us closer to Christ and one another throughout history and time, and to sustain us for ministry together around the globe.  

Different Christian traditions have different beliefs about what actually happens when we celebrate Communion. In the United Methodist Church, we believe that Jesus is really present in the bread and the juice, but we also believe that this presence is spiritual too.  Communion helps us remember the past, be fully present in the here and now, and reveals what will be in the future.  And most importantly, because Christ is the host of the meal – Communion is open to all in our tradition.  It is a means of grace - God's love given freely to all who partake.

(For more resources on Holy Communion, see https://www.umc.org/en/content/an-open-table-how-united-methodists-understand-communion)

WRESTLING WITH THE WORD

Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (Message)

  1. We call communion a holy mystery. What does this passage suggest about what is holy and what is mysterious about it?
  2. Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks the bread, and gives it to others. What do these four movements symbolize in our faith journey?
  3. In what way is communion a means of grace?

NEXT STEPS

  1. In the United Methodist tradition, communion is open to all people. What does this practice teach about God and about grace?
  2. How can the church embody this openness not only in its communion practice but also in all of its activities? How do we make room at the table for all? What steps can we take to expand our table?

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES RELATED TO COMMUNION

  • Exodus 12:1-18
  • Exodus 16:14-19
  • Deuteronomy 8:2-3
  • Matthew 4:1-11
  • Isaiah 55:1-13
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

CLOSING PRAYER

Dear God, we are thankful for the gift of Holy Communion and how it makes your Son, Jesus Christ, present to us. Through this sacrament, we remember his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection. Please help us to always remember the true meaning of Christ's sacrifice and to live out the love, grace, and unity it represents. As we partake in the body and blood of Christ, may we be reminded of our unity as the body of Christ, the Church, and may this spiritual nourishment strengthen us, motivate us, and transform us in our daily lives. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.

Tags: communion, roots, holy communion, vespers