Sunday, October 4, 2020

World Communion Words

(This meditation is the message from our outdoor World Communion Sunday service today at First Christian Church.)

 Proverbs 27:1.  NRSV

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day might bring.

There are faces in front of me!  Look around !  It’s awesome!  

For the past 6 1/2 months I have been preaching in my living room where the only faces to be seen are cat faces, and they really don’t care what I have to say.  The last time we were together as a congregation we were planning Easter.  Easter passed and we hoped for maybe  Pentecost.  Then maybe August.  We have had no idea what tomorrow is bringing us.  Every day has been another question mark - is this the day things will change?    We are praying to be able to start meeting indoors by Advent?  Maybe sooner? It will depend a lot on what happens in the County, and whether the numbers stay stable for a while, and how successful we are at getting committed volunteers to do things like take temperatures and checking masks, and showing you to your seats to make sure of physical distancing.  But today we are gathering as a congregation to celebrate World Communion Sunday - outdoors, sitting in lawn chairs appropriately distanced, wearing masks, holding our individual communion cups.  We are listening to music, but can’t sing along.  But that’s ok, because the Quarantine Qrew’s singing is awesome, and so is David’s guitar playing.  Today’s service will be very short. But we are together, and we are staying safe.  We do not know what a day might bring.  We really can’t make long range plans cause we just don’t know.

Sometimes I picture God sort of hovering above us all, saying “No! That is not what I planned for you to do! Follow the plan. I had people write it down in black and white - and sometimes red - for you!”. As I said in this morning’s message, we are really good at messing up God’s plans, at making decisions that take us in a different direction than intended.  In the Old Testament God keeps going back to the people of Israel, showing them the error of their ways, and turning them back in the direction of the plan - over and over, they veered away from the plans God had made for them.  God’s plan is for us all to take care of each other, to do justice, love kindness, and walk with him.  God’s is not always an easy path to follow, but it is really easy to get sidetracked. 

God tried so many times - sending judges and prophets to urge the people to do as they had been commanded to do.  God gave them commandments, and the Law, and over time they decided it was more important to worry about the details of each law than the overall message it gave - Love God with all your being, and love all other people as you love yourself.

So God sent Jesus, a human person who embodied God’s Word - God’s own son - to tell us and show us what that meant.  To remind us that God’s plan for the world is to live here on earth as if it is God’s own dwelling place.  Jesus walked among us to heal the sick, to cast out evil spirits, to preach Truth in ways that anyone could relate to - not as an academic, or a lawyer, but as one of us, as someone who embraced all humanity.  God’s hope was that this time the people would listen.  This time for sure.  But as we all know, only some of the people listened.  The powers that be did not.  Jesus was tried, and tortured and crucified.  And then, he rose from the tomb - he appeared to the disciples and ate with them, reminding them through those meals who he was, whose he was, and what God desired of us.  What God expects of us.  What God planned for us.  After that time, whenever Christ’s people came together to worship God, they shared a meal of remembrance, the bread and cup that remind us of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and of God’s love.

We, Disciples, share this meal every Sunday.  Not all other Christians do. But today, on World Communion Sunday, this meal is being shared all around the world in remembrance, in unity, and in gratitude for all of the gifts we have received from God, especially the gift of Jesus, the Christ, whose love for us all brings us to this Table.  In gratitude for this great sacrifice, let us offer ourselves, our own gifts and talents, and a portion of all our resources back to our God, so that the work of sharing the Good News with all of the world may go forward.

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