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Devotional: August 19, 2020

Here in this great gathering for worship     I have discovered this praise-life. And I’ll do what I promised right here     in front of the God-worshipers. Down-and-outers sit at God’s table     and eat their fill. Everyone on the hunt for God     is here, praising him. “Live it up, from head to toe.     Don’t ever quit!”

From the four corners of the earth     people are coming to their senses,     are running back to God. Long-lost families     are falling on their faces before him. God has taken charge;     from now on he has the last word.

All the power-mongers are before him     —worshiping! All the poor and powerless, too     —worshiping! Along with those who never got it together     —worshiping!

         Psalm 22: 25-29          The Message

Last Sunday, we celebrated communion- virtually. Our online worship team and I recorded worship, including the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. It was not the same as when we gathered in person to celebrate the sacrament, yet the Lord was present, both in our sanctuary and in your homes.

As a pastor, it gives me an enormous feeling of honor, privilege, and blessing to watch our congregation sharing the bread and the wine of communion. It truly is a feeling of peace and blessing when I do so. Why? When we celebrate communion, we all come equally to the table: clergy and laity, rich and poor, male and female, people of all ethnicities, able-bodied and disabled, and young and old. The only leader is Christ, who is the host of the table. The guests are all who call upon His name.

Psalm 22 catches the spirit of what happens at the table of the Lord. People come to the table from various walks of life. The power-mongers are present, but also those who never got it together, including the down-and-outers. What’s more: everyone is able to eat their fill. Christ is enough for every single one of us!

Right now, I cannot see you all in my congregation celebrate communion. This saddens me, but I still have my memories of the times when you were present, and we celebrated communion face to face, in person! You probably remember celebrating communion together as a church family, as well.

I also have my imagination, and I can picture you celebrating communion in your homes, and apartments, with close family. The beauty of communion is that while we are together, God is with each one of us individually. Thus, when we gather virtually, God is with each one of us personally.  Being together is important, but being with the Lord is essential.

I also have hope that we will soon celebrate communion together again. The Session and I do not know when this will be, but we are hopeful it will be soon. We may have to make some adjustments, but we will do so, for the joy of being together will certainly outweigh any obstacles we must overcome. Please continue to pray for our Session, for me, for our congregation, and for all those who long to worship, to celebrate communion, and to sing praises to God.

In the meantime, we celebrate our Lord Jesus, who didn’t require tickets, or payment, or merit to sit at His table, but only repentant hearts from those who had need of His forgiveness. My hunch is that all of us qualify! The truth is that whether we are worshiping together or apart, we are not really alone. Christ is our eternal companion, and he does not keep Himself from us. 

We rejoice in the love, grace, forgiveness, and hope that Jesus offers us at His table. May we never take it for granted, or approach it without gratitude in our hearts. Amen.

Prayer

Lord of all,

We are thankful for Your amazing love, and the incredible sacrifice of Your own life, given up so that we might enjoy life eternal, and forgiveness for all of our sins. We appreciate that Your body and Your blood was given for each one of us, and for all of us. Therefore, we enjoy true Christian fellowship at Your table. Thank you for that gift! May we always rise from the table, ready to minister to our neighbors, including the “least of these”: our sisters and brothers. We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


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