This Sunday’s Gospel reading is about the feeding of the 5,000 all with five loaves of bread and two fish. At one point, Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and gives it to the disciples to give to the people. Does that sound familiar? Yep…Holy Communion. Here's how Holy Communion began. Remember back in the Old Testament when God’s chosen people, the Jewish people, were being held captive in Egypt? God chose a man named Moses to confront the pharaoh and ask that he let God’s people go free. Pharaoh was a stubborn man…I mean…really, why would he let all his slaves go when he got free labor to build his temples and pyramids? So, God gave Moses plagues to make Pharaoh suffer so he would be persuaded to let the Jews go free. There were locusts, frogs, boils, darkness, and all kind of nasty things. But still, Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. God sent one final plague…all the firstborn would die during the night. However, God wanted to protect the Jews, so he told Moses to tell the people to put the blood of a pure lamb over the threshold of their houses. So, when death came, it would pass over their house. When morning came, Pharaoh found that his own son had died during the night. So, he let God’s people go.
To this day, the Jewish people celebrate “Passover” every year to remind them of that night. Often it coincides with our Holy Week during Lent. Since Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, Jesus asked his disciples to prepare a place for them to celebrate Passover. It took place on what we now call Maundy Thursday. Jesus gathered around the table with his disciples and celebrated the Passover meal. After the meal was finished, Jesus picked up a piece of bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “This is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” Then he took a cup full of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood shed for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus used common elements from the meal, bread, and wine to begin this very holy meal.
I’ve heard from a few people regarding our “virtual” communion we have been celebrating in our homes the past several months. Some really like it…they enjoy gathering with the Peace family and using whatever they have at home to celebrate communion. Others feel it’s just not the same as when we do it in the worship space. I get both sides of that! And I invite you to do what makes you feel comfortable. That’s one reason we will be offering drive-through communion this Sunday, August 2nd from 10:00 – 11:00 am. No matter how you take communion, rest assured that Christ is present!
“See” you Sunday,