I am glad to be back and grateful for the grace you extended by letting me step away for 10 days to be with my daughter as she journeyed toward and through her wedding day. We put her and Jake on a plane for Costa Rica Tuesday for their honeymoon and began making our way north. Needless to say, we are a bit pooped, and are slowly finding our way back into the work that awaits us.
I am also grateful for all of you who stepped in to lead worship on the 21st and 28th, I’m sure the services were beautiful and holy. Thank you to our two preachers–Ellen Metcalf and Jim Smalley! The feedback I have received was that a powerful Word was brought forth each Sunday. How lucky are we to have such good preachers in our pews.
This Sunday, we will pause to name and claim our personal and communal cloud/s of witnesses in an All Saints liturgy. As we prepare ourselves in prayer, word and song, my hope is that those important faith-shapers of your life will fill your hearts and souls such that you offer us the gift of their names as we light candles in their honor. These lights will beckon and surround us as we gather at Christ’s Table together.
As this service is already a bit different, we are also going to introduce two new things into our day. Over the past year, some of you have brought me Sunday bulletins from churches you have visited in your travels–which I love:) With some of them, you have left me specific notes naming how much you appreciated their layout, design etc. So, we are experimenting with our bulletin to see if one of these other layouts might work well at Pilgrim. I am curious to hear how you will experience this beyond the initial jolt of something different from what we’ve always done.
The second change will happen during communion. The deacons have long been in conversation about how to make our celebration of the Lord’s Supper feel more holistic and reverent. As this Sunday will be the first time we move back to the elements being passed in the pews, we decided it would also be the perfect opportunity to begin passing the bread and cup in one movement rather than two. How that will look in practice is as follows:
As the deacons come to your row, you will be invited to partake of the bread as it is passed to you. This individual movement reflects our intimate and unique relationship with the Holy through Christ. As the cup is then passed to you, you are invited to hold it until the deacons return to the Table, so that we might share the cup of covenant as one body of Christ.
My prayer is that unifying our movement through Holy Communion will help bring us to the liminal space the Lord’s Table creates where we meet and commune with God.
I look forward to meeting you there.