Thursday, March 7, 2013
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 32, Joshua 4:1-13, and 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5
God wanted the Israelites to put up a marker where they had crossed the Jordan River. He specifically told them it was so their children would ask why they were there, giving the parents the opportunity to teach them about how God had led them from slavery in Egypt to their new land.
Liturgy often serves the same purpose for us. Kids are naturally curious, and they’re bound to ask why we do certain things. That gives us an opportunity to teach them something about God. There are other things, too; crosses, icons, paintings – the list is long. God wants us to find ways to remember the things he’s done for us.
The Eucharist is a sacrament, which means that it’s something that we do because Jesus told us to do it. A sacrament is about what God does in us. When we celebrate Communion, God is working in us, giving us grace. Communion is food for our spirits, in just the same way that dinner is food for our bodies. To a smaller extent, Communion is a memorial. It is a way to remember that Jesus died for us, giving his body and blood so that we might have life. Communion is meant to be celebrated by the gathered community (see how similar the words are?), not in “drive-by” format. It’s not something we hurry through because church is running long. As St. Paul wrote, “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Communion has visible elements, and those visible elements cause us and our children to ask questions about why we do it, what it means, and so forth. But Communion is also invisible in that (just as we learned yesterday) we cannot see God working in us, but we can see the effects.
This may be quite a lot to digest. Take the time you need in prayer, asking God to help you understand. Ask him to help you find ways to put remembrances in your home, so that your family, especially the children, can see them and ask questions. Write your own prayer. Perhaps bake your own bread to see this in action, especially if you have kids or grandkids who can help. Remember yesterday?