Spiritual Communion is a Powerful Thing
tor.cpcfairfax.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/prayer_2607c1_print.tiff” alt=”” width=”188″ height=”182″ /> This past Sunday as we celebrated World Communion Sunday at Christ Presbyterian Church, I made a few observations that I thought I would share with you. Some of these observations are about things that are always present and some are unique to the special aspects of our worship.
First and foremost, I was stuck by what a sanctuary with almost 150 people looks and sounds like. In recent months we have had wonderful attendance at our worship services, but with 40 to 50 more people in the pews, the excitement and expectation was palpable. Beyond that, I also noticed that we have plenty of room for more people. We are blessed with a sanctuary that is both large but inviting.
Secondly, I was impressed with the spiritual openness that I sensed during the service. There was a willingness to experience new traditions and varied cultures. As each person read the Scriptures in a different language, I could see in the expressions around the sanctuary that even though most of us didn’t understand the language, we were able to hear the Word.
Another aspect of our worship that seemed heightened was the fact that we were able to be dependent on the Spirit. Given the fact that we weren’t able to connect with some of our worship due to its linguistic diversity, we had to pay attention to the Word through the Spirit. Even when the Light Global Mission Church Choir sang in Korean, there was more happening than just a wonderful musical experience.
I also believe that we were privy to a sampling of what the Kingdom of God is like. This may be a bold and perhaps over the top observation, but nonetheless I think it’s true. The diversity of our worship was truly an opportunity to see the Body of Christ as God sees it. Most of my life I have spent time in church as a segregated hour with people just like me. Even when I have traveled to conferences where other ethnicities are represented, the worship has always been European in its character. While we didn’t do a lot of things differently, we did move ourselves into an area that many would not even think of approaching. To see and hear the diversity of God’s creation expressed in worship was a blessing to me. It can be very easy to see our way as THE way.
The final aspect that struck me was the fact that our worship and fellowship didn’t feel like separate events. In our worship we fellowshipped and in our fellowship I believe we worshiped. This was perhaps the greatest part of this year’s World Communion Sunday at Christ Presbyterian Church. We experienced the true nature of Communion. We moved beyond communion being a ritual held at the table. Communion is about how God’s Spirit unites us. Through worship we open ourselves up to the fact that God is able to move us past our individual nature that tends to divide even the Body of Christ. This past Sunday was a wonderful example of how God’s transcendence can be displayed through us.
Don’t get me wrong. One day of diversity and exploration doesn’t transform our culture. Perhaps it does help us to begin to ask the question of how is it that we can allow God to foster this reality more in our common life. I, for one, hope that we can grow our connection and communion.
This was a glorious day and there were two things that stood out most about it, for me. First, I loved that a member of our visiting choir felt comfortable enough sharing with us (and of course, with God) that a friend she had been inviting to church for a long time had finally decided to come with her on World Communion Sunday! I had noticed this woman in our pews, not only because I sensed she was a visitor, but she seemed to be paying extra close attention to everything going on that morning. I had a sense she was a “seeking” visitor. I loved that we all welcomed her with applause. Second, the luncheon was something special. The food was great, of course, but there was more. It was like Thanksgiving with family. We shared our opinions about the food, and what we like and don’t. We talked about favorite recipes and we shared about our families. There is something special about our congregation (and our visitors from next door) and sharing all that we have in common together.
It was a great day – in many ways it’s my favorite service of the year. Yes, even more than Christmas and Easter (not that those services aren’t great – just different in their own way!). And icing to the cake – one of the Korean choir members came up to me because she recognized me from our neighborhood Tae Kwon Do. Her son goes there too. Truly a small world!