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And the Table Will Be Wide

A Blessing for World Communion Sunday

And the table will be wide.
And the welcome will be wide.

And the arms
will open wide
to gather us in.
And our hearts
will open wide
to receive.
And we will come
as children who trust there is enough.

And we will come unhindered and free. And our aching
will be met

with bread. And our sorrow will be met with wine.

And we will open our hands to the feast
without shame.
And we will turn

toward each other without fear.
And we will give up our appetite

for despair.
And we will taste
and know
of delight.
And we will become bread for a hungering world. And we will become drink for those who thirst.
And the blessed
will become the blessing. And everywhere
will be the feast.

~Jan Richardson

I love teaching our Holy Communion class because in teaching this class I remember year after year, the importance of this amazing gift that we receive.

We watch these silly videos with two characters, Jacob and Julie. Jacob is a scientist trying to uncover the mysteries of faith through the scientific method and Julie is the theologian who comes to help Jacob discover the gifts God gives us. Jacob of course gets things wrong over and over again, thinking we need to impress Jesus or that somehow we need to do something to be welcomed at the Lord’s table. Julie assures him all we have to do is receive. “Receive. Receive. Receive.” They say as Jacob makes crazy arm movements that are hysterical to all of the kids in the room, while Julie patiently teaches him just to put out his hands.

This particular episode of the video series is my favorite because by the end of it there is no question you will remember how to receive, but also because it illustrates that something so simple can become complicated for no real reason at all. Communion is indeed a gift. We don’t need to do anything to earn it. We don’t need to bring anything in order to make ourselves worthy. All we do is come to the table and there we are fed. Yes, indeed we do need to put out our hands to receive, but the hard part has already been done for us by God (and of course the altar guild).

I am excited to welcome our youngest kids to Holy Communion on April 29th. It is always fun to hear their questions, to have watched them wait for so long to finally be welcomed at the table. Of course, at Shepherd we do say all are welcome. And we mean this. All are welcome, however, we do want families to choose when their children officially begin taking Holy Communion. Some of our kids have had Holy Communion before. Some of them will receive for the first time. I do give thanks that at God’s table all are welcome, no matter who you are and what you have done, and all will be fed with God’s love.

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