An Article and Worship Service
by Rev. Averill Elizabeth Blackburn
Although I can only speak for myself, one of the aspects of worship I have missed most during this Health Crisis was the taking of Communion with my fellow believers. The ritual of the Lord’s Supper is one of my earliest memories of church and, also, the setting (or punchline) of many of my stories of living and traveling abroad. My first taste of wine, for instance, came at the age of six, one Summer morning in a small village in Wales, when I was served communion and drank something I did not quite expect from a dulled gold chalice.
I know that when we gathered in November 2020, on the first Sunday of the month, we still set the Lord’s table and held Communion, but for safety reasons only I could partake in it.
I also know that although we’ve been having “Zoom Communion” nearly every month since September 2020, many of you for various reasons are unable to log in and join us.
So, as we stretch into 2021—a new year with new hopes and renewed fears—I thought I’d send you the Communion Service. After all, the only requirement is that you consider yourself a friend of Jesus and that you gather in fellowship (if not in person) with others who feel the same.
All you need is a bit of bread (or some sort of substitute—I like to find some sort of pastry) and the “cup”, whether it is juice, water, tea even, or the traditional wine. Over the many centuries, there have been of course arguments among theologians about what can and cannot be served, but let us remember that Jesus ate and drank what was available to him in his time and place… and so, too, is the case now in and around Florence, Mass. In 2021.
We will be gathering as a community on zoom at 10 am this Sunday and celebrating the Communion Service about 10:30, for those of you who would like to time it with us. However, I can confidently say that there will be a Christian—somewhere in our global community of faith—eating the bread and drinking from the cup at nearly every moment throughout Sunday in a continual fellowship of brotherhood and faith. No matter when you sit down and read this service, I can nearly guarantee someone, somewhere will also be taking Communion.
May the Lord be with you this and Every Sunday as you join in Communion and Fellowship with his Followers. Amen.
This is the Lord’s table. It is not the table of any one particular church or denomination—indeed it need not be a physical table at all. It is a place of gathering, a place of community, a place of fellowship—both temporal or spiritual.
All those who believe in Christ, who know him and call him “friend,” gather here this morning. We gather as Christians, we gather as believers, we gather as seekers—and join in fellowship and spiritual communion with all those who have and will call themselves the same, whatever the distance between us physically.
This morning we gather, not only with fellow friends of Christ across the planet, but with all men, women, and children who have known themselves to be Christ’s friend—whether it was two thousand years ago on a mountain outside of Jerusalem, or two thousand years from now in a place and time beyond our imaginings.
On the night that Jesus Christ, our Lord, was betrayed, he gathered with his dearest friends and companions. He took the bread and broke it in his hands, telling them, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this in remembrance of me.”
In remembrance of Christ who sacrificed his body to save our eternal souls, I give you this bread. Eat it in fellowship with all Christians—and in remembrance of him. (Eat the bread.)
Next, Jesus took the cup and held it up. He told his disciples: “This cup is the covenant that I will one day come again. Drink this, my friends, in the knowledge that I will one day be with you all.”
In the knowledge that Christ, our Lord, will come again, I give you the cup. Drink it, to begin to prepare the way for his Return. (Drink of the cup.)
Let us bow our heads in prayer—
Dearest Savior, we thank you for the nourishment of our bodies and of our souls. We thank you for your presence in our lives and pray that we may one day be together in our church, to worship and praise you. We thank you for the fellowship we find here, despite our collective solitude, today and every day. Bless us and bless those around us,
In your name we pray, Christ Jesus, Amen.