Monday, October 1, 2012

Holy Communion

Next Sunday, October 7, is World Communion Sunday for mainline Protestants. Maybe I should say old-line Protestants for denominations that at one time were the main churches other than the Roman Catholic Church in America. Of course, we are living in a new day now, and have seen a proliferation of churches over the last four decades. World Communion Sunday was first invented as an attempt to bring all of us together for Holy Communion on the same Sunday. It represented our oneness in Christ, even though we felt different from each other. Sometimes our practices were different. It was all part of the ecumenical movement of the past. It signaled our need to work together rather than compete with each other. Unity is a good thing, especially for Christians, but not all Christians bought in to World Communion Sunday. Some were and are suspicious of anything called “unity”. Concerned about “purity” of belief and practice, and Biblical interpretation, some Christians did not join in with the ecumenical movement. We United Methodists have always been ready to get together with our fellow Christians whether for a community service or a common mission and ministry. So, we have always celebrated the “great” church, the whole church as one, on World Communion Sunday. We believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, after that there is plenty of room for disagreement and discussion. Today, of course, unity among Christians still remains an embarrassment to the church, all churches. If Christians can’t get along, then what hope is there for anybody else? Competition between churches has risen to a new level. It has become about winning and losing. But, that’s another discussion for another day. Sunday, is about Holy Communion. It’s about a the table of Christ being open to all people. It’s about receiving Christ in physical as well as symbolic terms. All I know is that when you come to communion, you meet Jesus. All who stand in need of the love and grace which it alone gives are welcomed to table. No one is barred except by their own choice. We, at Bethel, celebrate Holy Communion monthly. On the first Sunday, we have communion in both traditional services. Sometimes, we have Confirmation or something that prevents our doing Communion in the second service, but we always have communion at 8:45 in the traditional service on the first Sunday of each month. We also, have communion at Spirit Song on the second Sunday of each month. Every Christian believer hears Jesus say: “This is my body. This is my blood. Come.” John Wesley says that anyone may come to the table who hears the invitation and wants to come. Even a non-believer may meet Christ and be converted at the table of the Lord. You may miss hearing God’s Word preached, though I hope not. But, do not miss receiving Christ, taking him into yourself again, and experiencing his love and grace. We are indeed united to other Christians, and at communion we are united to Christ. See you at the table. Blessings! Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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