Yesterday, was the first Sunday of the month, communion sunday. We Methodist are a methodical People. We have a method and once that method of doing things is in place we don’t like to change. I think change is good, but the older I get the more difficult it is for me to change the method. The people at First United Methodist Church, Water Valley, like taking communion the old fashion way. This entails people coming forward and kneeling at the rail with the pastor and a lay person distributing the elements, and then the pastor giving a blessing over the group. Then the group goes back to their seats and a new group comes forward. It really is amazing how fast 120 people can be served in this manner. There are still some that remember the days when it was an understanding that when you came to the prayer rail to take communion that you left a dollar or two so that the church could use those funds to help the needy. We collected $41.00.
I like to watch the reaction of the people as the elements are distributed. Some have a dower look upon their faces, others a smile, a trance like look for others and then a few glow as they receive the elements. There is no right or wrong expression to have as one receives the elements. However, the ones that glow are the ones that always touch me. Those with that glow are the ones that I feel get what communion is about. I may be wrong. I have been wrong before, and I realize that feelings are subjective.
We have several people who glow. I will not call any names. We have this one lady whose ability to get around has been somewhat impaired over the past several years. She can still go and move about but not like she did at one time. However, in spite of this, she is still aglow. She glows all the time. When she talks to you she even glows. I watch this lady’s face when she comes forward to receive the elements. She is on a walker and she cannot kneel as the rest do. She takes the round styrofoam like wafer and the little cup and as I look her in the eye she looks at me and she glows. I know she gets what communion is all about.
I am sure that to the world we look silly as we take a wafer and some Welch’s Grape Juice. I am sure that some would say that the prayer of consecration is just a meaningless ritual that occurs. I would disagree. What seems silly, insignificant, and meaningless to the world is the very thing that God can use to build the kingdom.
I am a proud United Methodist. Theologically, I am right there with old John Wesley about 99% of the time. We United Methodist believe in two sacraments, baptism and holy communion. A sacrament is defined as a means of God’s grace. Something happens through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit that we cannot fully comprehend. I am not sure what it is, but I can tell you this, there have been times when I have felt God’s Spirit in a mighty way when I have received and given communion. Yes, God does something when God’s people gather together to worship. If it were a meaningless ritual then it would have gone by the wayside long ago. Even in the midst of us methodical Methodist God does something each time we gather…