Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara of Holy Redeemer, June 15, 2020

Dear Church,

Oh!  It was wonderful!  As I didn’t ask permission to use the photo, please Imagine the other people gathered in a bunch of other boxes surrounding mine for Holy Redeemer’s first Zoom Communion service!  As Aaron, one of our members called it, Zoom-union!  I was so excited that I forgot and actually ate regular bread!  I haven’t touched gluten in years! 

What is it about this gathering of folks, meeting to share a bit of bread (gluten free or not!) and a sip of wine or grape juice that feeds our souls?  What happens to us whether we are gathered in our church building, or in our separate homes and share this ancient feast?  There are probably a lot of theological writings that I could quote, or well thought-out arguments for why we should – or should not – engage in Zoom-union, but you won’t get those from the likes of me. 

To put it simply, I’m a Lutheran and I agree with Luther, who said that just how we receive the body and blood of Jesus in communion, is a mystery.  I only know, that, as our hearts come together in the mystery of Christ’s love and grace, we are blessed with the presence of Christ in us.   As we each take time to set up the computer for worship, find whatever we have to use as bread and wine, and click in – or try to! – Christ enters into our hearts and minds and bodies to uplift our spirits and give us hope to carry on.  Christ has done this from the first communion service and in every communion service since.

Now, a word to those of you who have qualms or concerns about communion on Zoom and do not wish to participate.  That’s okay!  We all have a choice during our regular Sunday service to take part or not. Our Christ strengthens us and blesses us in so many other ways!  In prayer, in scripture, in online worship, in devotions, in conversations with other people of faith, even in movies, literature and – you fill in the blank!  Our God knows no boundaries!  Grace abides!  And we are all still bound together in a community of faith!

St. Paul writes, “ For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

Especially not a distance!  We are all one!  Amen!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Barbara

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