take – bless – break – give

It was a spring camping trip in 1988 when my closest college friends and I found ourselves on the dunes of southwest Michigan, overlooking the expansive beauty along Lake Michigan. We were having such fun – hearts open – celebrating life and friendship, and taking in the glory of God through the creation that surrounded us. In the midst of it, one of us said, “Hey, we should have Communion together. Right here. Right now.” We were young 20-somethings. We all believed in and had working relationships with the Holy. But we didn’t have credentials. We didn’t have grape juice. We didn’t have bread. What we had in a backpack was a bag of Doritos and a can of Coca Cola. Still, we felt the nudge to share in this Holy ritual; to share in prayer; to say “yes” to the invitation to be vulnerable and grateful; and to do it together. So we did just that, right there – with Doritos and Coca Cola – and each of us communed with one another, and with God, in one of the most memorable Lord’s Supper of my life. 

The Words that were spoken by Jesus at his last meal with his friends (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) are a prayer. This prayer is the second of four ritual actions for the Lord’s Supper that are modeled on the actions of Jesus on the night of this last meal together. The actions are: take (preparing the bread and cup); bless (giving thanks over the bread and cup); break (breaking the bread and raising the cup); and give (the bread and cup are given to the people). Simply stated, the first part of the prayer blesses God, the second recalls Jesus, and the third part invokes the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps the ritual of The Great Thanksgiving holds treasured intimacy with God for you? Perhaps it holds shame from a misplaced sense of judgment? Perhaps it brings a negative connection to mistreatment by a flawed human being in your life? Perhaps it has simply become a rote ritual? Maybe a measure of each of these is true? I have come to believe that when the Holy One speaks, it is an invitation. As you consider and hear these oft spoken words, consider them as a fresh invitation. Though they are a prayer addressed to God, remain open to what might be offered to you as well. 

A chance to Respond

Let us use these words as a prayer and invitation today. Have an edible element and a cup of liquid with you. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out slowly. When you are ready, move gently through the words of this sacred ritual, offering them as a prayer to your Creator. Remain open to how you might also be guided by the Spirit in each action:

take – what are you preparing, or the Spirit is preparing in you, to offer as representation of love to God and to others?

bless – what do you give thanks for, this day, at this time, 

break – what might be “breaking” in you that The One Who Loves You is “breaking open” to offer new life and healing? 

give –  what might the Spirit be bringing forth in you in this moment that can be a gift of nourishment for yourself and perhaps for others?

A chance to Receive

As you slowly breathe in and out once more, perhaps open or soften your heart to receive the Love that is available to you, for this day.

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