Communion.

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In her book “Take This Bread” Sara Miles tells the story of how taking communion one Sunday morning transformed her life and the life of thousands in her city.  “I took communion, I passed the bread to others, and then I kept going, compelled to find new ways to share what I’d experienced.  I started a food pantry and gave away literally tons of fruit and vegetables and cereal around the same altar where I’d first received the body of Christ.  I organized new pantries all over my city to provide hundreds and hundreds of hungry families with free groceries each week.  Without committees or meetings or even an official telephone number, I recruited scores of volunteers and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.  My new vocation didn’t turn out to be as simple as going to church on Sundays, folding my hands in the pews, and declaring myself “saved.”…..I had to trudge in the rain through housing projects; sit on the curb wiping the runny nose of a psychotic man; stick a battered woman’s .357 Magnum in a cookie tin in the trunk of my car….I learned about the great American scandal of the politics of food, the economy of hunger, and the rules of money….all blown into my life through the restless power of a call to feed people, widening what I thought of as my “community” in ways that were exhilarating, confusing, often scary.”  (from the Prologue)

How do you feel about feeding other people?  What connections do you make to feeding others when you receive communion at The Table?  How might you wonder and share your thinking about this with someone today?

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Art.

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An old silent pond.
Into the pond a frog jumps.
Splash!  Silence again.

“It is perhaps the best known of all Japanese haiku.  No subject could be more humdrum.  No language could be more pedestrian. Matsu Basho, the poet, makes no comment on what he or she is describing.  He implies no meaning, message, or metaphor.  He simply invites our attention to no more and no less than just this:  the old pond in its watery stillness, the kerplunk of the frog, the gradual return of the stillness.

In effect he put a frame around the moment, and what the frame does is enable us to see not just something about the moment but the moment  itself in all its ineffable ordinariness and particularity.  The chances are that if we had been passing by when the frog jumped, we wouldn’t have noticed a thing or, noticing it, wouldn’t have given it a second thought.  But the frame sets it off from everything else that distracts us.  It makes possible a second thought.

…the most basic lesson that art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as vastly richer, deeper, more myserious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot.”  (excerpted from Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Buechner)

This is what we hope our new worship series “The Art and Resurrection of Justice” will help us to do…put a frame around Justice so that we might more clearly hear God’s call for our lives.

As you go through your day today, what might you be missing?  Try to give everything you see a “second thought”.  The places where people work.  Are those really just massage parlors for anyone and everyone?  What about our hotels?  What about our eating establishments?  Put a frame around them and notice what you see.

Toward Sunday

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While we celebrated the beauty & mystery of Easter on Sunday, the season of Easter will continue for fifty days. We’ll spend the first few weeks of Easter in a worship series called The Art & Resurrection of Justice.

Outline for The Art & Resurrection of Justice

•april 27: human trafficking (John 20.19-31)
•may 4: food insecurity (Luke 24.13-49)
•may 11: listening to the voiceless (John 10.1-10)

Read John 20.19-31.  We will be holding this biblical text in conversation with human trafficking this Sunday.  This will be a challenging topic for all of us.  We will hold the ancient text and the reality of human trafficking as we look for signs of resurrection and new life amidst despair.

Here is a link to learn more about human trafficking at madeinafreeworld.com/slavery.

Many people doubt the reality of modern slavery and most of us turn away from seeing the wounds it inflicts upon children of God. A few years ago a group called Made in a Free World asked the world one question, “How Many Slaves Work For You?”. They received an overwhelming response from every country on the planet. Learn your footprint here and join the millions of people around the world who have started demanding products Made In A Free World.

The Risen Christ says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

How might God be sending you into the world to address the brutality of human trafficking?  For what purpose are you being sent? To whom is God sending you?  How might you be part of offering peace to children and adults caught up in the vicious cycle of human trafficking?

Good Friday

Tonight we will gather for a time of prayer and solemn remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus.  We will begin at 7 in the Sanctuary at 5265 H Street.  There is childcare for children 10 and under.  All are welcome.

7:00 pm Good Friday Worship The Table at Central UMC

The sky peels back to purple
and thunder slaps the thighs of heaven,
and all the tears of those who grieve
fly up to clouds and are released
and drench the earth.
The ones who see and hear
know
that all is lost.
The only One named Savior
died
upon a cross.
The ones who believed and loved
huddle together
stunned.
All night long
the angels weep.

(from Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems)

Maundy Thursday

 

Our time together this evening will be rooted in the story of Jesus and his last supper with those closest to him.  We will consider our place at The Lord’s Table and wonder about who might be missing.  We will have a simple supper of soup and bread following our work at different prayer stations around Fellowship Hall.  6-7:15pm.  5265 H Street.
All are welcome.

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Eat.  Drink.  Remember
who I am.

Eat.  Drink.  Remember
who I am
so you can remember
who you are.

Eat.  Drink.  Remember
who I am
so you can remember
who you are
and tell others.

Eat.  Drink.  Remember
who I am
so you can remember
who you are
and tell others
so that all
God’s people
can live
in communion…
in holy communion…..

(from “Kneeling in Jerusalem” by Ann Weems)