Ever since the time of Martin Luther himself, the Lutheran Church has made it a practice to review the basic teachings of the faith. In both the Catholic and Lutheran tradition, this is known as “catechism”. The word “catechism” comes from a Greek word that means “to echo back”—the idea being that when we learn the faith by heart (some might say “memorize” it), we have reliable reminders of our relationship with God. In fact, writing a catechism for the Saxon parishes of the Reformation was one of Martin Luther’s initial ministry acts. He toured the churches, met with the priests and congregation members, and realized—to his dismay—that the lay people were illiterate about their faith; many of the priests couldn’t even read the Latin biblical texts—let alone translate or teach it. Writing a catechism in German became a way to make the faith accessible to believers.
So, this year, we take up the topic of Holy Communion. Yes, we’ll talk about the basics from the Small Catechism: What is HolyCommunion? What benefits do we receive from this sacrament? How can eating and drinking do all this? And when is a person rightly prepared to receive this sacrament? But there’s so much more to consider.
Holy Communion is more than just a religious ritual. This sacrament is packed with the biblical imagery of feasting or fasting, hunger or satisfaction, of trusting God or hoarding, welcoming or rejecting God’s company, of looking to have our primal needs met – and encountering a God generous beyond belief.
Time after time, Scripture paints with vivid brushstrokes a portrait of the beautiful relationship God continues to forge with us human beings. A picture in which we, who come to God with empty hands, find ourselves surprised by abundance. And we, who come to God with plenty in our pantries, feel moved to share what we have and then
experience gratitude for the opportunity to care for a hungry neighbor.
Please take the opportunity that this Lenten season provides to meditate on what it means for us to sit at the table with a God who in Jesus fasts, hungers, teaches us about what is enough, welcomes us to eat with him, and there provides for us abundantly.
How you can be involved
Worship: Make a Lenten resolution to attend worship more frequently. Maybe that means every Sunday. Or maybe it means both Sundays and Wednesday nights (with “Holden Evening Prayer”). In each of these services, you will hear stories about how God interacts with us, providing for us—even when we may not realize we have any need.
Sunday Movies with a Moral: On two Sunday afternoons in Lent (March 12th and 26th at 1:00 p.m. in the Social Hall.) you are invited to the movies. These movies are all about food: Babette’s Feast and Chocolat. If you’ve seen them, you know that they are worth seeing again. If you haven’t seen them then, well, you have no excuse; you need to be there. We’ll wrap up each viewing with a conversation about God and food.
Red Wagon Food Drive: Bring non-perishable food items and other essentials (paper towels, etc.) and lay them before the Altar—literally. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have every one of us collect 40 items (one for each day of Lent) for the Multi-Service Center? God provides, so we do too. Let’s fill the Altar area so full that it’s an audacious witness to God’s generosity.
Midweek Study: On Wednesdays, we will interrupt our normal 10 a.m. Bible Study and instead have Noon Soup and Conversation. We’ll gather for a light lunch, (yes, we invite you to bring soup or bread), and explore one of the rich biblical stories about Feasting with God. At 7 p.m., we will sing “Holden Evening Prayer” and look at the texts we studied at Noon.
Dinner Groups: So far, 5 groups are currently scheduled to meet at least twice during Lent. These groups will gather for a coordinated meal of their choice, and discuss the book, Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequest. If you missed the opportunity to join one of these groups, and have a hankering to be a part of the conversation, contact the Office, and we’ll set you up.
Get ready for the Feast!