Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
One of Jesus’ last acts on this earth was to share a meal with his disciples. The breaking of bread and the sharing of wine have now become holy sacraments for us to share together. Jesus knew the power of community. Jesus knew that in the days ahead, his disciples and followers would need one another. They would need to gather together for mutual support. They would need to remember and experience his love for them all. Holy Communion has become a universal way for all of us to gather, to share a meal, and to remember and experience the love of Christ. Like the disciples before us, in the breaking of bread Jesus has invited us to gather as a community, too.
As Jim and I are gradually joining other communities here in our new town, I hold my previous communities close to my heart. I miss dear friends in whom stories and faith were shared… my study group that provided a safe place to learn and grow… church communities in which I worshiped and served with others. Communities provide support, mutual understanding, humor, encouragement, celebration, and love. Our faith is lived out and deepened by our relationships.
But Jesus calls us and our communities to an even higher purpose: to be Christ’s Body, his loving presence, in the world. Individually we can make a difference for good. But as a faith community, we can do even more. Together we can feed the hungry and help to end poverty and disease worldwide. We can march or communicate with the strength of our unity and numbers. We can financially support those who are also working for missions, justice or equality. We can more readily rebuild places that have been devastated by natural disasters. Working together, we can lovingly reach more people with the caring, helping, healing love of Jesus.
Today I thank God for all of you who have been part of my community; you have greatly enriched my life. I thank God for all of you who are my new online community, too! Today, may we think beyond the blessing we have in one another, and consider ways we may reach out into our neighborhoods and beyond. Together in love, may we be the presence of Christ for those who desperately need his love, healing and hope.
Our symbol for today is a piece of bread. May it remind us of Christ’s bread shared together in a meal. May it remind us of Christ’s body, surrendered in love. May it remind us that now WE are the Body of Christ, and we are called to “spur one another on to love and good deeds.”
Jesus our bread of life,
Thank you for your invitation to gather together at the table. Thank you for knowing that we would need one another for mutual blessing and friendship, but also for serving as your presence in the world. Thank you for all of the kindness and love I have received in community. Unite all of us as a world-wide faith community, so that we may truly serve as your Body for others. Amen.