So Why Do We Celebrate Holy Communion in the Way We Do
Jesus told the guests at the meal a parable because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. Jesus said, “when someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited and the person who invited you both may come and say “give up your place to this other person”. Then to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. So when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there…for whoever exalts self will be humbled and the one who humbles self will be exalted.
Then Jesus said to the host. “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations, or rich neighbours for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No when you have a party, invite the poor, the disabled, and any who might not be able to pay you back because repayment will be made in the resurrection.
So why do we celebrate Holy Communion and, in particular, why do we have we adopted our particular approach and language to the sacrament of Holy Communion here at First United.
The wisdom of the Choral Anthem we just heard declares “the path is made by walking”. This is the same wisdom expressed by the existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard when he noted that “life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” which is the same wisdom that inculcates our understanding of sacrament.
Sacrament is something experienced first and understood second, the path is made by walking. This principle undergirds our practice of sacrament. In other words, you don’t have to have it all figured out in order to participate. Sacrament is mystical and not intellectual.
So Why Do we Pray Prayers of Intention and Longing as well as Pray the Prayer that Jesus Taught in our Prayers as a People.
Luke 11: 1-6
Jesus was in a place praying, and when Jesus had finished one of his followers said, “Lord teach us to pray just as John taught his followers”. Jesus said, “say this when you pray. Abba, may your name be held holy, may your kingdom come, give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.
Luke 11: 9-13
Later Jesus taught, “so I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives, the one who searches always finds, the one who knocks will always have the door opened for what parent among you would hand a child a stone when the child asks for bread, or give the child a snake instead of a fish, or hand a child a scorpion when the child asks for an egg. If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will Abba in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
Stories from our ancestors in the faith.
So why, when we gather as a faith community on Sundays, why do we pray prayers of intention and longing and include in our prayers as a people, “the prayer that Jesus taught.”
So Why Do we Read the Bible as Stories from Our Ancestors in the Faith
Anxious to justify himself, a lawyer asked Jesus “who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied, “a man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. The robbers beat him, took all that he had, and left him half-dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place, saw the man, and passed on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon the man was moved with compassion when he saw him. The Samaritan went up, poured oil and wine on the man’s wounds and bandaged them. The Samaritan then lifted the man on his own donkey, escorted him to an inn and looked after him. The next day, the Samaritan took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper saying “look after him and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have”. Jesus then asked the lawyer, “which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer responded, “the one who took pity on him.” Jesus said, “go and do likewise.”
A story from our ancestors in the faith.
So why do we read the Bible as “stories from our ancestors in the faith”.
This question is a part of our ongoing effort to deepen our understanding and experience of our spirit practices here at First United. This effort is one that respects our diversity while at the same time honours our collective story as a community of faith.