Thursday, January 04, 2007

World Communion

Fisher, Chuck. Newsletter First Presby Church. Colorado City, TX: October 2003.

Keywords: World Communion, forget, confession, pride

The first time I ever administered the Sacrament of Holy Communion was the first Sunday of October 1978 at the Main Street Presby Church of Honey Grove, Texas. I had listened to and watched many different preachers lead congregations in the celebration of this "outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace of God at work." However, this time I would be responsible for sharing the elements with the people on the other side of the table.

To prepare for that awesome responsibility, I studied all week long the liturgy and the scripture readings that go with the observance of the Sacrament. I even practiced uncovering the tray of glasses and holding up the chalice and the patten, as I recited the Words of Institution.

As luck would have it-or as pride sometimes gets in the way of the best intentions-my memorization of the entire service of Holy Communion went out the window as soon as I stood up behind the table. Believing that I had the whole thing "down pat", I had not taken one note-much less the whole book with me to the table. Standing there in the silence of the sanctuary-with the whole congregation looking at me-waiting to hear what I would say-I could not find even the first word.

Folks from all over the whole world were celebrating the Sacrament together that day. Christians of every race and nation gathered around Christ's table to receive the elements symbolizing his body that was broken and his blood that was shed for the sins of the world. And I just stood there "brain-dead"-stunned by my own ignorance-unable to come up with a single word.

The silence was truly deafening. Not knowing what else to say or do, I finally said, "Let us pray. . ." and set about to ask God to forgive us of our sins (thinking to myself about pride), to make us deeply appreciative of the sacrifice made on our behalf, and to help us celebrate this Sacrament with great joy and integrity. Amazingly, when I got to the end of the prayer, the Words of Invitation came back to me and the celebration could begin

No comments: