“[The prophet Elijah] lay down and fell asleep under a broom bush. Suddenly an angel touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat.’ He looked about; and there, beside his head, was a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water! He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.' He arose and ate and drank; and with the strength from that meal he walked forty days and forty nights as far as the mountain of God at Horeb.”
(1 Kings 19:5-8, The Jewish Study Bible, Tanakh translation)
“And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.”
(Matthew 14:20, NRSV)
The last time we dined together at the table of Christ at SVLC was March 8th, 2020. From there, without certainty of where we were headed, God called us into a time of fasting and social distancing. It has been quite the journey.
Two months ago I invited the congregation into a time of discernment around whether SVLC might celebrate communion together moving forward, even as we remained at a physical distance from one another. During that time I was grateful to hear the ways in which this body of people is hungering for the bread of life.
One member wrote, “The feeling of this hunger from fasting is similar to the hunger I feel to embrace my children, grandchildren and friends.” Another member told stories of their time in the armed services helping to coordinate the delivery of consecrated communion elements to far off military watch posts. Still another reflected that it is by this feast that we become one body of Christ, and that in this particular moment of history the body of Christ is needed in the world more than ever.
It was a privilege to hear these and so many other testimonies. Carrying them prayerfully into discernment was a delight, and am grateful for your patience.
One of the longstanding traditions of the church at large is the sending of communion to those who cannot attend worship in-person. Under normal circumstances this means that any member of the church can, for instance, bring communion elements from the Sunday morning assembly and serve them to a homebound or hospitalized member. In this way, the table of Christ is extended outward from an in-person assembly into the homes or hospital rooms of those who cannot worship in-person.
In a few weeks, we'll similarly extend the table into your own homes. Here's the plan:
On Saturday, August 8th, twelve members of SVLC will gather to worship on the back patio of our church grounds, along with myself and musician Gina. All in attendance will be asked to verify that they have not recently experienced COVID-19 symptoms, will wear a face covering throughout the whole service, and will be seated at a safe distance from one another. Holy Communion will be at the heart of this service, and will take place with extra caution. Atop the table will be a basket of pre-packaged homemade communion bread, enough for every family unit of SVLC.
After being safely fed at the table, those twelve who attend worship will be sent out to deliver this communion bread to any SVLC families and members who were not at worship.
Then, on Sunday, August 9th, the rest of our congregation will gather via Zoom at our usual time of 9:30A.M. During this service we'll gather around the bread that has been delivered to our homes by one of the twelve. In this way, SVLC’s communion table will be extended into our own homes. As we would do in-person, we’ll remember God’s grace and promises throughout time and history by way of the Eucharistic liturgy before feasting as one together.
Just as the disciples carried 12 baskets full of food into a hungry world after Jesus’ blessing, so too will these twelve members of SVLC become an extension of God’s abundant grace into the world. As Christ's body, this is just who we are: we take the blessing we've become, and send it out freely for others.
“Arise and eat,” says the angel of God to the hungry prophet Elijah, “or the journey will be too much for you.”
In order to make this happen, here is what we need:
Twelve individual volunteers who will come worship in person outside at SVLC on August 8th at 6:30P.M.
Fill out the survey below to volunteer to worship in-person and/or to indicate whether you would like communion bread delivered to your home on August 8th for Sunday worship the following morning. A blessing will be given for those who choose to continue their fast.
Finally, a big THANK YOU to our SVLC bread bakers who have already agreed to so lovingly (and sanitarily) bake enough delicious homemade bread rolls for every single family unit of SVLC.
You can expect to hear more about Eucharist SVLC this Sunday during the sermon, how this decision was reached, and why this particular form of communion has taken shape here at SVLC. Until then, please fill out the survey (click here for the Communion Survey) so that we can begin to set the table.