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Wednesday, October 5, 2011


What better time, I ask, could there be to begin a weekly meditation called "One Eternal Presence" than the week of World Communion Sunday.  Last Sunday the Spirit of World Communion was moving at Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church.   Church School was teaming with activity: the adult class wrestled with Middle East peace, the toddlers in the Wee Believe class were up and down the stairs (and later literally all over the chancel platform during their time in worship), Godly Play was happening with older children, and rice and eggs were being cooked in the Washington Seminar Center kitchen (more coming on that). 

As worship approached, the sanctuary was as usual nearly empty five minutes before starting time.  Visitors always arrive first and get the best seats while members linger in Fellowship Hall or are still making their way to the church.  One young couple who are usually among later arrivers was right on time and surprised that things actually happen before the Passing of the Peace, which is when most folks have finally arrived. 
The choir was smaller than usual with several members out of town for the weekend, but that didn’t keep them from doing a solid rendition of an old favorite hymn as the anthem.   Our liturgy was eclectic with readings and hymns from different times, cultures, and traditions reflecting the Spirit of World Communion.  We pondered the Ten Commandments and Fruits of Spirit in the scriptures and sermon.  And then we came to the Table together, along with multitudes around the globe and clouds of Souls throughout the ages.  Everybody was there - even those who were not!

But the Spirit of Communion didn't stop at the Table, nor at the end of the worship service.  In a certain sense we have Communion every Sunday in our congregation, but the Table is not in the sanctuary, it's in Fellowship Hall.   And instead of Bread and Wine, there is coffee, juice and a myriad of tasty treats.  Most importantly, however, is the conversation as we catch up with old friends and get to know new ones.

Finally, Communion is not just worshiping together, observing sacraments together, and enjoying one another's company.   Communion is also about reaching out to others, serving people in need, and sharing in the abundance of Creation.   And this is where the rice and eggs come in.

Downstairs in the Washington Seminar Center kitchen a crowd gathered to prepare and assemble breakfast burritos to be frozen and taken the United Methodist Church across the square where on weekday mornings 40-50 people partake of that which will probably be their only full meal of the day. And so the intertwining, interconnected net of Communion is woven and casted. 

It all kind of reminds of another Communion Day, maybe even an "World" Communion Day when people gathered to hear Jesus teach and to experience his healing presence, and Jesus took a few loves of bread and a couple of small fish, blessed them and invited the people to eat.   Everyone had their fill and there were twelve baskets full left over.   I'm reminded of this because last Sunday we gathered to learn, to worship, and to experience God's healing presence and while doing so a few crusts of bread dipped in wine somehow became 320 breakfast burritos.

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