Suggestions for Celebrating The Lord’s Supper
Sunday May, 3, 2020 (after worship)
Suggested Order of Celebration and Reflection:
As you begin your Communion celebration, take a moment to remember that none of us is alone today. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper in communion with the body of Christ, the communion of the saints and our Lord.
A reflection on the Lord’s Supper by The Rev. Frederick Buechner follows:
The Lord's Supper is make-believe. You make believe that the one who breaks the bread and blesses the wine is not the plump parson who smells of Williams' Aqua Velva but Jesus of Nazareth. You make believe that the tasteless wafer and cheap port are his flesh and blood. You make believe that by swallowing them you are swallowing his life into your life and that there is nothing in earth or heaven more important for you to do than this.
It is a game you play because he said to play it. "Do this in remembrance of me." Do this.
Play that it makes a difference. Play that it makes sense. If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child.
Remember Max Beerbohm's Happy Hypocrite, in which a wicked man wore the mask of a saint to woo and win the saintly girl he loved. Years later, when a castoff girlfriend discovered the ruse, she challenged him to take off the mask in front of his beloved and show his face for the sorry thing it was. He did what he was told, only to discover that underneath the saint's mask, his face had become the face of a saint.
This same reenactment of the Last Supper is sometimes called the Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving," that is, at the Last Supper itself Christ gave thanks, and on their part Christians have nothing for which to be more thankful.
It is also called the Mass, from missa, the word of dismissal used at the end of the Latin service. It is the end. It is over. All those long prayers and aching knees. Now back into the fresh air. Back home. Sunday dinner. Now life can begin again. Exactly.
It is also called Holy Communion because, when feeding at this implausible table, Christians believe that they are communing with the Holy One himself, his spirit enlivening their spirits, heating the blood, and gladdening the heart just the way wine, as spirits, can.
They are also, of course, communing with each other. To eat any meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic need. It is hard to preserve your dignity with butter on your chin, or to keep your distance when asking for the tomato ketchup.
To eat this particular meal together is to meet at the level of our most basic humanness, which involves our need not just for food but for each other. I need you to help fill my emptiness just as you need me to help fill yours. As for the emptiness that's still left over, well, we're in it together, or it in us. Maybe it's most of what makes us human and makes us brothers and sisters.
The next time you walk down the street, take a good look at every face you pass and in your mind say, "Christ died for thee." That girl. That slob. That phony. That crook. That saint. That damned fool. Christ died for thee. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee.
~originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words
As you read, jot down consider your own make believe and how you know God. Consider what you have learned in the last month about mercy and about justice.
Please read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
Make note of and share 2-3 things, events, or blessings for which you are thankful. Please share these with the people at your table, the people in your home, the people at the end of your telephone line, the people on your Facebook page, the people with whom you send and share text messages, and letters or on social media pages. As you share, you may notice that your blessings expand, even exponentially. God is so good to bless us so.
Read Psalm 46—joyfully—with praise in your heart!
Share the communion elements of the bread and the wine with one another. If you are having communion remotely by phone or FaceTime, share remotely nonetheless. Jesus caused His body to be broken for you. Jesus shed His blood for you.
Please pray with one another the following prayer or any prayer you wish to say:
Loving God, you have given us as one body a share in the one bread and the one cup and made us one in Christ. Help us to bring your salvation and joy to all the world. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen
This day and all days, celebrate that you are one with, and in the body of, Christ. Hallelujah! Amen.