Brothers and sisters,
I wanted to write to you all this week and tell you about one of my friends and the way that friend has affected my faith. Most of you will remember that my birthday was in July and that I had some friends who were visiting from Pennsylvania. Well, this is a story about one of those friends, Adam, who I’ve known since college. Adam and I met during a summer camp between our Junior and Senior year in high school, but we didn’t really spend much time together then. Once we got to UNC, however, we became really good friends. Adam is the type of person that I can talk about anything with. Sometimes, we have deep discussions about subjects we’re passionate about (for me, it’s theology; for him, it’s English literature). Other times, we talk about our hopes and dreams for the future. Other times, we talk about frivolous things or we crack inside jokes.
One of the things that I’ve always admired about Adam is his open and welcoming attitude toward other people. Adam is incredibly hospitable, always looking to invite folks into whatever he’s doing. I saw that happen most often at meals and celebrations. Adam is the type of person who is always looking for an excuse to invite folks over. And what’s more, Adam is always looking for more people to bring to the party. If he’s having a birthday party and has invited friends over, he’d love nothing more than for them to bring their friends. If he’s made a bunch of food, he’s going to go knock on his neighbor’s door and see if they want some. He sends food home with people, makes plates for folks that have to leave a get-together early, and makes a point to speak to everyone. Hospitality is something that comes naturally for Adam. He is always looking for ways to bring people into his circle of friends and I admire that about him.
I tell that story because this Sunday, we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper in worship. Communion is a constant reminder, for all of us, of the way that Jesus constantly brings people into his circle. It is a reminder that Christ loves people and that Christ is always looking for chances to know them. Communion ends up being this wonderful glimpse of the kingdom of God because all are welcome to come to the table. All are welcome to partake of the bread and the cup. Communion ends up acting as a beautiful reminder of the generosity and abundance of God, of the love that God has for each of us. Communion also acts as a challenge to each of us, reminding us that our tables should be open. We ought to be sure that we are reaching out to people and letting them know that they are loved, regardless of who they are or what they have done. At Christ’s table, all are welcome, all are fed, all are loved.
I also want to be sure and let everyone know that we are going to be taking Communion in as safe a way as possible on Sunday. We have purchased special Communion cups that will allow everyone to partake of the elements in their seats. Simply put, the cups we have purchased have both the wafer and the juice packaged together. So, when you come to church, you will pick up one of the cups on your way into the service, hold onto it during the service, eat the bread and drink the cup at the right time, and then dispose of the cups on your way out. In this way, we can still take time to celebrate the love and hospitality of our Lord, while faithfully loving our neighbor in the midst of the pandemic.
Grace and peace to you all,