BY DAVID HOLSTON |
Note: David Holston is the Executive Director of Sunnyside Ministry, a ministry partner of the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM).
This past Sunday we celebrated communion in my congregation. It was in memory of the martyrdom of John Hus, the spiritual forefather of the Moravian Church. There, for a brief period, we all gathered at the table together. When we partook of the bread and the cup, the officiant says three times during the service: “Do this… in remembrance of me”.
Do this… in remembrance of me
This phrase resonated with me this past weekend as I thought about all I am through the grace of Jesus Christ. First, I remember that through the crucified Christ I am saved. This is a very important thing to remember. But as I thought more about this, I was led to the many lessons taught by Christ. I must say that I am often drawn to the passages about how we treat others. It is related to my daily life and my thinking.
Take a few minutes and think about the last time you took communion. In the Moravian Church we practice an open communion; if you are a communing member of any church you are welcome at our table. What resonates with you when you take communion?
In the 1970’s there was a Coca-Cola commercial with all sorts of people gathered in lines singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony!” Imagine a world where we all held hands and sang songs and shared a Coca-Cola. Sadly, today it feels unlikely to happen. Someone would be offended by the person standing beside them; others would make fun of the one standing a few feet away. Some might even say, “this person is too sick to stand near me!” In reality, we know people are not always singing on mountain tops or in perfect harmony. Sadly, harmony does not exist in some cases between communing Christians. We can’t always agree to come to the same table. If we always did, there would be little to no hunger in this or any community.
In the last six days, we have had four people shot just a few blocks from two Moravian Churches and Sunnyside Ministry. At Sunnyside Ministry, the other day alone, we saw two females who have just escaped domestic violence. Additionally, Sunnyside has provided groceries for over a hundred families.
I believe that the change starts at this table, the one in most churches inscribed with the words: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
We ask “were does it end?” We say “someone needs to fix this!” We wonder “when are things going to get better?” I believe that the change starts at this table, the one in most churches inscribed with the words: “Do this in remembrance of me.” It starts with us, the Christian community when we reach out to everyone, both those who seem to have it all and those who we have called “the least, the lost, the last.”
Consider the original mission statement of the Salem Tavern:
“Whereas it is the duty of the Board of Directors of the Congregation to supervise, with a watchful eye, the tavern, and it is their ardent desire that the guests who come here (who are of very different dispositions and customs, yea, even occasionally enemies and spies) may be served by our Brothers and Sisters thus, by their correct conduct, without words, testify to Jesus’ death, and in their difficult office and calling, be an honor to the Lord and Congregation.”
Can we, create a table where all are welcomed, even our enemies? We can. Will it be easy? I think that it would be easier than we think, but only if we do this in remembrance of Christ.
Questions? Comments? Contact David Holston at [email protected] or call (336) 724-7558 ext. 103
David Holston is the Executive Director of Sunnyside Ministry. Sunnyside Ministry is a non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, and emergency financial assistance to families in crisis. All funding for our assistance programs comes from donations and grants. In 2014, Sunnyside Ministry provided $1,883,040 worth of services to families in crisis situations. Grocery orders were provided to 17,634 people and clothing to 15,483 individuals. To learn more about Sunnyside Ministry, subscribe to their email newsletter here.