In remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a holy and living sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us…
I was doing an in-person communion the other day (I haven’t done many of these in the past 18 months!), and while I was standing at the table with the communion bread and juice in front of me, these words suddenly became a vibrant, living experience for me.
I intellectually know I am offering myself to God at the communion table, but I felt it more deeply this time. The offering of the whole of me in the service of God’s mission. The good, the bad, and the ugly of me. I confessed my sins, both individual and as part of the church and the world, and offered all of me, human, frail, and yet strong in God’s love. As I made that offering, I could feel it even in my bones that day.
Some days this offering feels more like a sacrifice. The work is hard. Living as a Christian is hard. The effort even to come to a worship service has become harder than ever for many of us. Some of us fear, some of us don’t want to leave home, some of us still need vital protection. And even though it may feel like a sacrifice, living as a follower of Christ is worth doing; however I can do this work – with others, in a mask, with a vaccination, with social distancing – the sacrifice is worth it, because God is worthy.
I take comfort knowing we do not offer ourselves to be alone but in union. Union symbolized by the bread and the cup, just like the ones Jesus served to his disciples. Union with others. Union in mission to people we don’t even know yet. We never go alone into mission and ministry; we go together, we go in union.
Next time you take communion, be it in person or online, listen for where God is calling you to really hear the words; sometimes they come alive in new and unexpected ways. In the midst of so many unexpected changes – God too may share unexpected meaning for you!
Alexandria & Arlington District Superintendent