Pastor Lane Announces Plans for Holy Communion
Dear St. John’s family,
I invite you to join us online this Sunday, August 2, as we launch a livestream of our worship service, celebrate Holy Communion together, and share in a Blessing of the Backpacks for the start of a new school year.
Do you remember that line in the Apostles’ Creed that says “I believe in the communion of saints”? This “communion of saints” has become a very real component of our faith during the COVID-19 pandemic. At its core, the “communion of saints” is an affirmation of the empowering, unifying, and healing work of the Holy Spirit among God’s people and throughout creation. It is a reminder that though we cannot be with one another, and we cannot gather in one, physical place, as the “communion of saints” we are together in Spirit.
We feel the loss of this fellowship acutely, especially when we want to approach the Lord’s Table. In extraordinary times like these, how will we come to the Table? As is often said: “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.” If each of us is joined to Christ by virtue of our faith and baptism, then we are also joined to one another as the Body of Christ. This is our true communion. Even though we are not physically together, we are truly together because of this union we have with Christ, through the Holy Spirit.
In normal times, when members of our congregation are homebound, we take communion to them. It is a way of extending the Communion table to those unable to gather with us in-person, but who long for this means of experiencing God’s grace. In a way, we are all “homebound” right now. Therefore, during these extraordinary times, we will extend the Communion table to you – our homebound congregation – this Sunday, August 2.
During our worship service, which we will livestream from our Facebook Page and Vimeo channel, we will share in the Great Thanksgiving together. Pastor Deirdre’ and I will lead us through our Communion prayers and rituals. And when it comes time for the Epiclesis – the Prayer asking the Holy Spirit upon us and upon the communion elements, there will be individual Communion Kits upon the altar, which we will consecrate. Then, during our Drive-By Offering, from 11 a.m.-noon, we invite you to come and pick up a Communion Kit so that you, too, can partake in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
I know it will not be the same as receiving Communion together in the sanctuary. But we offer this unique opportunity for those individuals and families who desire to receive it. I also acknowledge that participating in Communion in this way may not be the desire of everyone. Choice is always part of our faith and our Spiritual practices. Whether you realize it or not, we have been “fasting” from receiving the Sacrament, which we last shared in together at St. John’s on March 8. So, after 20 Sundays, those who desire, will break the fast! Please know that I understand if you prefer to continue “fasting” and awaiting that time in which our gathering around Christ’s Table in person will be deemed safe.
Your choice in this matter is between you and God and will be blessed by God. If you do choose to participate in the Eucharist, please worship with us at 10 a.m. this Sunday and then drive by the church anytime from 11 a.m. to noon to pick up your Communion Kit.
Additionally, we are looking for people to help deliver Communion, to those who are unable to get out on Sunday and who are truly homebound or facility bound. You can pick up kits for delivery on Sunday, as well. If you’re willing to help make some deliveries or would like Communion delivered to you, please contact Pastor Deirdre’ (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Already during this pandemic, we’ve been reminded that the Church is not a building. The Church is the people! And this Sunday, August 2, as we gather around the Lord’s Table, we will be reminded that Communion – whether experienced in the reverence of the sanctuary or partaken out of a plastic cup –is still an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. And ALL are welcome to partake.
As I mentioned earlier, we will be launching our livestream this Sunday, so please pray for the Tech Team and the technology. We are thankful for all these innovative ways of staying connected.
We will also have a Blessing of the Backpacks on Sunday for all our students, educators, and folks who work in the school system. We will even have a Backpack Tag for you to come pick up during the Drive By Offering as a reminder of the “Peace of Christ” that goes with you into this new school year.
This Sunday is also Grocery Bag Sunday! If you have donations for The Shepherd’s Market, please bring them by on Sunday, as well. It will be such a joy to see your masked face and smiling eyes!
I love you and miss you! I am so thankful to be a part of the “Communion of Saints” with you here at St. John’s United Methodist Church.