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A Word from Pastor Tom on Online Communion

Topics: Community, Sunday Mornings

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As Methodists, we have two sacraments: Initiation (Baptism) + Nurture (Communion).  These are the two things Jesus commanded all Christians to do. In one sense, the sacraments are symbolic. We do not believe in transubstantiation (the substance of the elements changing to become the physical and literal body and blood of Jesus). On the other hand, the sacraments are far more than symbolic—they are a means of grace. God’s grace is truly present in these elements. We believe they are means where people are converted and healed in a variety of ways.

The sacraments are also a public witness. When we receive Communion, we proclaim to others that we are Christians. The word “Communion” means “common unity.” Typically, we never do it alone. I’ve heard laity say some of the most meaningful acts of service they have ever had is when they serve the bread and juice to others.

I have grown to love our Communion liturgy. I’m amazed at how it ties into our Sunday service in one way or another. I also like that it’s a time for self-examination and repentance. My favorite part may be when you (the congregation) say to me as I lead the liturgy, “In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven.” I always want to add, “Thank you!” I am grateful for God’s forgiveness—and His sustaining grace, now more than ever.

At this unique time, our Oklahoma Annual Conference Bishop Nunn has given permission to extend the Lord’s Table into our individual homes. We will continue doing it this way until we can be together again.

Who is Permitted to Take Communion at Asbury?

You are invited to the Lord’s Table even if you are not a member of Asbury or a United Methodist. To receive Communion, follow the prompts for the prayers, confession and congregational responses as provided by the pastors who will use the prepared liturgy displayed on your screen; and then partake of the elements when you are prompted.

Are children allowed to participate in Communion?

Yes, children are permitted to receive Communion, though we urge parents to talk with the children about this to make certain they understand the significance.

Holy Communion explained for kids (and grown-ups!)

Holy Communion is one of the oldest and most special traditions of the church. When we eat the bread and drink the juice, we are doing what Jesus and His disciples did 2,000 years ago! Everyone who follows Jesus has been sharing in the Lord’s Supper since that day.

This is what happens during Communion:

  • Prepare the Meal – First, we set the table and announce that Jesus wants everybody to come have dinner at His house.
  • A Big Thank You – Just as Jesus gave thanks for the meal during the Last Supper, our pastors lead us in saying thanks to God. We ask God to put the Spirit of Jesus on the bread and juice, so that when we take them, we are united with Him.
  • Breaking the Bread – Jesus said Communion should remind us of Him and His great love. When we break the bread and lift up the cup, we remember that Jesus gave up everything to show us a better way.
  • Dinner Time – If you love Jesus and want to follow Him, you are invited to this meal. When we receive Holy Communion, we are getting a sneak peek at God’s great heavenly feast which we will all enjoy when Jesus returns.

 

*How to prepare for Communion during the stay-at-home order:

  • This week gather some form of bread and either grape juice or wine. (If all you have is bread, that is fine.)
  • Carve out time Thursday evening to participate in our special Maundy Thursday service.
  • Before the service, clear your dinner table or a side table, make a sacred space in some way; get out your Bible, maybe some candles, and set out the elements of bread and juice.
  • Tune in as we worship together online at 7 pm at asburytulsa.org/watchlive

* In a letter from Bishop Nunn, he stated United Methodist licensed local pastors and ordained elders in the Oklahoma Annual Conference may celebrate the sacrament of holy communion through a recorded or online worship service to which people are invited to gather as a congregation from a distance. This unusual way of consecrating and receiving this sacrament is being allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic because congregations are being gathered electronically by necessity.

 


Posted by Tom Harrison on Apr 7, 2020 6:00:55 PM

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