Layers of Communion (part two)
By Steve Bolie of Clive, IA, USA
Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little;” —Isaiah 28:13 NRSV
There is more to the idea of “you are what you eat.” In yesterday’s blog, I mused about ice cream as a special dietary need. When we eat a bowl of ice cream, we probably don’t do it in remembrance of previous ice cream treats. We are in the moment with the pleasing flavor and texture. The ice cream adds to our current calorie intake. It may bring back memories of previous ice cream treats, but that’s not the primary reason we eat it.
Conversely, when we share the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, we remember Jesus. But that’s not all. We take part in the Communion expecting that it will make a difference in our lives. We don’t have to start over with each Communion each month. Rather we add to our discipleship, or Christ-likeness, layer on layer. We may reflect on our discipleship and think of something we want to add—a spiritual practice or an act of service.
For three years I arose early to do some writing each morning. After that, I started doing devotional reading. Then I started reading a chapter of scripture each morning. I added “dwelling in the Word.” This is what I mean by layer on layer.
Years ago I fasted on Communion Sunday mornings—I didn’t eat breakfast before I went to church for the Lord’s Supper. In an effort to make some more progress spiritually, I decided to start that practice again. I am not trying to accumulate spiritual practice, but to deepen it. It is about becoming more like Jesus with a desire to grow in our discipleship, to draw closer and closer to God.
Prayer for Peace
We thank you, God, that we don’t have to start over every time we mess up. May we learn as we go—from our mistakes and from what we do right. Thank you for the grace you give hour by hour, month after month, as we draw closer and closer to peace.
Spiritual Practice: Spiritual Hunger
Jesus discerned hungers of body and spirit, and he fed them through a physical, verbal, spiritual ministry of presence. In a time of listening prayer, ask God to help you discern physical or spiritual hungers of people in your congregation, community, and global family. Invite the Spirit to move you to one hospitable act that “feeds” someone’s hunger today.
Today, God, I will prepare for tomorrow’s sacrament of Communion.