Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. It's the start of a new week, and I, for one, am thankful for the opportunity to refuel and refresh and get a new start. I especially love the first Sunday of the month because in Community of Christ the 1st Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday. For me, Communion signals a new start, a clean beginning, an opportunity to reset my relationship with God and my commitment as a creature of God’s love and grace.
I attended a pre-communion service that was unique in that it offered one hour devoted entirely to spiritual preparation for communion. Typically communion is part of a worship service, not the sole focus. To have this entire service devoted to preparing for communion was a powerful experience. I can’t begin to describe everything that happened in the service and the responses that were evoked, but there is one spiritual practice that I’d like to share. That was using Lectio Divina with the Community of Christ’s Prayer of Blessing on the Bread and Wine as the focus.
In Lectio Divina a scripture is generally repeated 3 times and each time we listen for a different emphasis. This practice opens our minds, helping us engage with the Holy Spirit and feel God’s presence.
I want to share this experience of using Lectio Divina with the communion prayer. .
First time it is read, just hear the words as if for the first time. Treat them as if you have never heard them before.
“… bless and sanctify this bread and wine to the souls of all those who receive them, that they may eat and drink in remembrance of the body and blood of your Son…” Be silent for a minute to rest on those words. Imagine these words are presenting new thoughts and ideas. Perhaps read it a second time to gain a better focus.
Next – as you read it again, listen and think about your global brothers and sisters.
“… bless and sanctify this bread and wine to the souls of all those who receive them, that they may eat and drink in remembrance of the body and blood of your Son…” Be silent again and reflect on this new emphasis. What images or thoughts does it bring to mind about your global brothers and sisters.
Now for this 3rd time reading it, remember the body and blood of Christ
“… bless and sanctify this bread and wine to the souls of all those who receive them, that they may eat and drink in remembrance of the body and blood of your Son…” What comes to your mind and your heart this time?
If Lectio Divina is new to you, I invite you to read this prayer 3 times through again so you can feel the impact of those words with each new focus. We hear this prayer once a month and there is not a lot of time to contemplate the words. This opportunity to explore the prayer with 3 different lenses can be a real spirit-filled gift. May you also find this practice helps reset your communion experience so it is new and fresh. Do you remember your first communion? How did you feel?
If you participated in a communion service recently, what speaks to your mind and your heart? Did the experience give you the sense of a new start or perhaps the never-ending love of God who is forever and again, loving you despite your failings. May you find God moving into your mind and into your heart with each communion experience.
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.