We celebrate Communion once a month at SMC. We made the transition from Communion two times a year, to once a month almost eleven years ago. Some might question whether the increased frequency might detract from the depth of the meaning. I have never heard that question asked about singing or sermons–that we should not have these pieces every week out of a concern that they would become commonplace, somehow diminished in meaning.
Yesterday, I came to the table with a deep sense of my need of God. I came with a hunger for the forgiving, transforming, empowering work of grace. The Eucharist is a sermon unto itself, for in this meal the Gospel is proclaimed. I came with a deep awareness of my need to listen and to receive from Jesus.
I came with an acute need of Jesus…the Bread of Life. I came needing the cup to penetrate every area of my life.
We use grape juice in our communion service at SMC. In this way we follow the broader evangelical shift that occurred over the last 100 years stemming from the prohibitionist era.
Yesterday my thirst for Jesus, out of the dusty clay of life, seemed to crave something stronger than unaged grape juice–the child’s drink. The complexities of life, the brokenness of the world and the neediness of my own soul yearned for something that would burn away my ennui, my will to wallow in sadness and laziness.
The physical mediates the spiritual. Wine burns as it goes down, it penetrates and lingers. This is the way I was yearning to encounter Christ. This is not to say that grape juice is not useful as an element in communion, but I merely give expression to the spiritual yearning that needed to be slaked at the table which Jesus has prepared for us.
Jesus met me at table and in the listening presence, laying on of hands, annointing, and prayers of the Body of Christ.