The interim pastor I served on staff with until recently repeated the phrase and concept “for you” ad nauseam. It would show up weekly in his sermons, in conversation, and in theological reflection. But you know something, the more that I heard that over a year and a half, the more I began using that phrase too. It just resonates, yet it is simply profound and summarizes the gospel so well.
This image and phrase came back to me this morning. Since leaving my staff role in a congregation, I have entered a state of wandering to some degree. It has been good though. Because of this sort of flexibility I have been able to visit some other congregations and hear others preach, like last week hearing Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. I have also received communion at different services and with completely different worshiping communities to some degree this month.
It struck me though today, just how wonderful something as simple as saying or hearing the words “for you” can be. To be honest, I received communion last week and received the bread from the hands of Bishop Eaton. That was nice, like receiving from any great pastor. But yesterday morning, I received the bread from a young elementary school girl. She gave me a little bit more than a full piece, but that’s okay. When she said the words “for you” a smile came across my face.
That’s just the point. We proclaim these to be the “gifts of God for the people of God.” They aren’t magical, they are a sacrament for the people. They are given by God to be shared and given by all to all. No matter if receiving the food from the presiding bishop, an elementary school child, an exhausted senior pastor, a stressed out associate in ministry, a millennial trying to find that fulfilling job opportunity, a senior citizen struggling to maintain balance in life, or whoever… worship, and in this case communion, transcend all demographics of age and experience (or at least we hope and trust that they do). God meets people just where they are at in life, no matter the circumstance in new and amazing ways. One of these ways I believe is through other people meeting their neighbors, friends, and strangers in life.
One of these moments then, or at least a moment of recognition, came yesterday for me. “The body of Jesus Christ is given for you.” Amen. Sometimes we have to be woken up and made aware of the here and now. To be mindful, present, and to cultivate a sense of presence some times it takes a moment such as this to be reminded that you are here now and “I am for you.” This was a reminder I needed, and perhaps you do too?
As we start another week, for many like in the upper mid-west another week of crazy cold, its important to know that God meets us and is present every day and everywhere. God is for you, thanks be to God.
Image Credit: Communion Wafer