Dear Friends in Christ,
I’m certain that like me you are looking forward to celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord this Sunday, despite the fact that we will be doing things a little differently. Thankfully during the past few weeks we have been learning to worship in different ways as we continue to keep social distancing a priority and as we seek to keep our families and the people we love safe. I hope and pray that you have all figured out a way to watch our worship videos on Youtube and have found the links accessible via our Church Website or our church Facebook page. It has been quite a challenge for me to preach to a video camera like some kind of televangelist, instead of being able to share my message with you all in person. Thankfully there are some extremely talented individuals in our congregation, who have been putting forth a great deal of time and effort so that we can continue to worship God as a church family.
When we closed our doors and began doing worship online I began to wonder how we might be able to do Holy Communion together. After all, it is a vital part of our faith as disciples of Christ and it is such a meaningful way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins as we are able to tangibly consume Jesus to nourish our bodies and souls. Thankfully with some guidance from our Synod we have figured out a way for you to experience the Eucharist in your homes while we wait for this pandemic to pass over us. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read through the online brochure located below that gives some great information about how to do Home Communion.
To briefly summarize some of the suggestions that are offered in the Sacramental guide, and some of the things I have learned from our Bishop, the first thing you should do is choose a head of household that will be in charge of presiding over communion (if you are alone you can still commune yourself). Martin Luther believed that just as education in the faith could be supplemented at home, that moving the Sacrament of the Eucharist into the home when the church found itself in the midst of dire circumstance could also be done. As we begin doing this we need to keep in mind that the Lord’s Supper was intended to be observed through corporate worship as the body of Christ gathers together to praise and honor God. I would also encourage you to do what you can to make it a sacred event for your family to share, and to imagine that we are all sharing in the sacrament together. Some great recommendations from the brochure are as follows:
-The person who is presiding over Communion should be baptized and all who receive it should be baptized. People are welcome to participate if they aren’t baptized by receiving a blessing, “May the Lord bless you and keep you in his grace.”
-Establish a time to celebrate communion (ideally as part of a recorded worship service led by your Pastor).
-A sacrament is always paired with God’s Word, so if you are celebrating communion outside of an online service, plan to read some scripture before speaking the words of institution.
-Choose a table in your house that can be used as an altar and put enough bread, wine, and/or grape juice for you to consume in a single worship setting.
-Leftovers should be dealt with respectfully by eating the leftover bread or using it to feed creation. The wine/juice can be returned to the earth if no one wants to finish it.
I look forward to our Easter celebration and may our Lord Jesus continue to walk with you all,