Bread for hunger and wine of peace.
We are almost through the Reformation 500 October Month and I have not even quoted Garrison Keillor yet. Garrison Keillor who par excellence and to great humors length has described the Lutherans with love and honesty. The Lutheran Song:
“We are a modest people
And we never make a fuss,
And it sure would be a better world
If they were all as modest as us!
We do not go for whooping it up
Or a lot of yikkety- yak
When we say hello, we avert our eyes
And we always sit in the back
We sit in the pew where we always sit,
And we do not shout “Amen!”
And if anyone yells or waves their hands
They’re not invited back again.
I’m a Lutheran, a Lutheran it is my belief
I am a Lutheran till I die!
We’ve got chow Mein noodles on tuna hot dish
And jello with cottage cheese
And chocolate bars and banana cream pie
No wonder we’re on our knees.
This is the church where we sing “Amen”
At the end of every song.
The coffeepot is always on
Cause the meetings are three hours long.
The blessed tie that binds our heart
is cream of mushroom soup
We do not walk through the door alone
We wait and go as a group/
I am a Lutheran,
For many Lutherans, food and faith are inextricably linked. We gather for a memorial and a luncheon. We gather for a baptism and a luncheon, and we gather for a wedding and a banquet dinner. And we gather for worship and a wonderful prepared lunch awaits us. For us as Lutherans food and faith does go hand in hand…. And some might have a hard time exactly stating if they come for the spiritual tastings in church or the delicious Danish dishes in the hall. I do think that it is both……
Here in worship, food is on our minds too!
We gather around the table in worship to receive the meal that matters the most of all: The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion.
We celebrate Holy Communion every Sunday – it was not always so. In fact, in Luther’s time it was only common to receive the bread and wine once a year. In many Lutheran Churches it used to be and still is only once a month or on special occasions that they celebrate communion. But to us as a Danish Lutheran Church, it is vital that we celebrate, invite, and attend communion every Sunday. Every Sunday is the Lord’s Day and every Sunday he invites us to his table.
Holy Communion is a central part of our Lutheran Worship. All five senses are engaged in communion and it is the most interactive part of the service.
1. We rise and leave the safety of our regular pew, we walk up to the altar 2.
2. as we listen to the call.
3. We reach our hands out to receive the bread and we feel the texture
4. and smell the baked goods:
5. and we taste the red wine of love on our tongues.
6. And we confess our sins and our faith with spoken or silent words.
We are told Sunday after Sunday, we feel it Sunday after Sunday and we believe it Sunday after Sunday that we as humans do not live by bread alone, but by the words of God’s mouth too. We live by the love between us, the compassion shown to us: we live by the hope that we cling too, we live by the hugs we receive when most needed; we live by the encouraging words and the warm smiles; we live not only by the bread but by the meal we share, the moment we share and the faith we share.
Oh, and we can debate what really happens at the altar when we gather for communion. Just like Martin Luther argued with the Catholic church and just as Calvin and Zwingli and numerous others have discussed and still discuss what happens at the altar…. But most importantly we agree that something does happen, when we share the broken bread and tasted the red wine of love. The mix of mystery and physical bread. The mix of words and wine.
There are plenty of jokes about communion:
When the pastor wanted to explain the concept of Holy communion to the children he said: The bible talks of Holy communion being a joyful feast. What does that mean? Well, joyful means happy and a feast is a meal. So joyful feast is a happy meal. And what the three ingredients n a happy meal> Hamburger, fries, and a regular soft drink!
Or how about the new low-fat communion bread: Have you heard about it? The new low fast communion bread? It is called “I can’t believe it’s not Jesus!”
We sing one of the most beautiful hymn at communion – or rather Christine sings the verses and we sing the chorus. And every Sunday after communion, I heard and sing these words again and every time they strike me so meaningful.
By your hand you feed your people, food of angles, havens bread for these gifts we did not labor, by your grace have been fed.
At communion we are fed. It is that vital mix of food and faith. The food of angels, heavens bread is a gift of grace, given to us, fed to us – free and through faith alone.
In this meal we taste your sweetness, bread for hunger, wine of peace. Holy word and holy wisdom satisfy our deepest needs
In this meal of just a zip of wine and a piece of bread, we tasted the sweetness of God. The words of grace and forgiveness comforts our tormented souls and satisfies our deepest doubts, fears, and needs.
Send us now with fait and courage to the hungry, lost, bereaved in our living and our dying we become what we receive.
This is how we are send Sunday after Sunday. Us of the pews and out of the church and into life: the complicated broken and dangerous life out there. We need to be send with faith and courage… and we need to be send not just to comfort our own needs, but the needs of the bereaved, the sad, the lonely, the lost, the broken and the hungry. And then we will remember that we do indeed become what we receive. And as Martin Luther says: “A Christian is never in a state of completion but always in a process of becoming….”
We are constantly receiving and thus constantly becoming. WE are constantly receiving so we can give.
Christ own body, blessed and broken, cup overflowing, life outpoured given as a living token of your world redeemed, restored.
Holy Communion is a gift. A grace. It is a living token given to us – a token and a sign that our broken world can be mended and our tormented souls can be restored.
When you come to Holy Communion today:
1. focus on your walk up to altar
2. be quit as you wait to come up and focus your thoughts
3. Kneel and feel the presence of your neighbors – you are not alone
4. Kneel at lift your eyes to look at Christ welcoming you, embracing you, blessing you
5. Reach out your hands like a cup to be filled
6. Reach out your cup as a hand to be filled
7. Let go of your despair, your bad consistence, your mistakes of today or yesterday or yester year, let go and enjoy the taste.
8. Listen to the pastor words: Peace be with all of you! Believe it, embrace it! And then go in peace!
And believe that we are indeed Send now with faith and courage to the hungry, lost, bereaved in our living and our dying we become what we receive.