October 2nd World Communion Sunday
I Am More than Flesh and Bone Pastor Arlo
Invitation to Celebrate from Aotearoa/New Zeland
“I am more than flesh and bone”
“I am body,
I am me.
Take this broken bread and be as me,
All of you
And I shall set you free.”
“I am love and liveliness”
“I am blood,
I am me.
Take this outpoured wine and live my life,
Each of you
And I shall set you free.”
We are body and the blood
Wine and bread—
Dreaming, praying, working, joyfully
For that day
When everyone is free!
-Bill Wallace, Aotearoa/New Zeland
“God is Rice
Rice is the symbol of our life
We eat rice daily
There are different kinds of rice
But we are one
As the rice-eating community
Rice is the symbol of celebration
We express our joy of harvest with it
There are many suffering in Asia but we anticipate the time of cosmic celebration.
–Masso and Fumiko Takenaka, Japan
Gifts of Many Cultures
A Reflection from Bali -Collette
Many times when we think about our life and think about our difficulties in our life, we tend to find scapegoats that we can accuse and we can consider as enemies. In that way, we always look at other people, other objects outside of themselves. We seldom look at ourselves, the inner selves. We do not want to blame ourselves. Then we forget that our chief enemy is exactly within ourselves—the ego, the greed—the longing for our own comfort at the expense of other people. We surrender ourselves to our egos, to the desires of our egos, or to the desires of our flesh.
In Bali, we consider the desires of our flesh as the desires of our five senses: the desires of our flesh as the desires of the eyes, the desire of the nose, the desire of the ears, the desire of the mouth, and the desire of the mouth, and the desire of the skin. Moreover, the Balinese compare our bodies to chariots which are pulled by five horses of five senses. That is why we need to be in control of the five horses of five senses. That is why we need to be in control of the five horses or five senses, so that the chariot, or the body will not go astray or fall into a ditch or tramp on something to be broken.
So we try to prepare ourselves, our bodies, to be dwelling places of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We let Him be the driver of our bodies, or the controller of the five senses. He will give us the right direction or motivation by love in all our actions. We try to focus ourselves to Christ, so that with our eyes—we can see Christ who cannot be seen, with our ears—we can hear Christ, who does not emit any sound, with our mouths—we can answer Christ’s calling, who does not say a word, with our noses—we can smell the fragrance of Christ’s word and deed, with our skin—we can feel his touch, who does not touch us with His hand.
–I. Wayan Mastra, Bali Gifts of Many Cultures
Prayer of Confession from Brazil Collette
Lord we give you thanks
Because around this table our strength revives
In the struggle against poverty.
Make of our gluttony,
Our thirst for abundance
A new feeling
Of justice and hope.
Lord, may our meals
On earth divided
One day be shared
In an earth reunited.
Forgive us, now,
At this unjust meal,
Until the whole earth
Is nourished by your bread.”
-Jaci C. Maraschin, Brazil, Gifts from all Cultures
Passing the Peace from World Student Christian Federation Collette
Redeemer Christ, we are one body in you. We are a forgiven people. We see our community gathered together. We know others are gathered in your name at this time in other places.
We cherish our unity in this diversity.
We look to you for guidance, we listen for your word, we hope for tomorrow.
We feel welcomed in and through Christ.
Let us now, in this new moment, come together and share the peace which Jesus made possible: the peace of Christ. Peace be with you.
And also with you.
—World Student Christian Federation
Reflection from Spain Ellen
“We partake of the bread and the wine, the ageless symbols of Christ’s life given for others. We eat and drink because of our need and not because of some special goodness we possess or privilege we may feel. We will reach out to those near to us and receive their friendship, we reach up to receive the friendship of God and be this day truly reconciled.
Eternal God, who has called us from the busy world to worship thee in quietness, we approach the table of thy Son unworthy even to be near it; for who of us can say he has no need to ask the ancient question, “Lord, is it I?” Help us to eat the bread in remembrance of the body that was broken for us, and, by the drinking of the cup, to show forth the Lord’s death til he comes again in glory.
Henceforth let that mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus, and grant also that we may be in him. Consencrate now these emblems that they may be truly to us the bread of heaven to succor us and the wine of joy to sustain us, and grant us the comforting presence of thy Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen. –Richard Wilcox, Spain Gifts of Many Cultures
Reflection and Prayer from South Africa Collette
“When our bread is broken and our wine is poured out, O Seeker and Savior of the lost, we remember again the poor and oppressed of the earth. We recall that your body was broken that the hungry might be nourished, the oppressed of the earth. We recall that your body was broken that the hungry might be nourished, the oppressed set free, replenished with the bread of new hope and new life. As bread was once scattered seed, O Bread of life, sown in the earth to die and to rise to new life, so gather all people together in the one humanity of your coming new age. Restore the broken life of your creation; draw all creatures into yourself through the cross and the power of your risen life. And grant to all the faithful departed a share in your bliss, that with them we too at the end may be welcomed into your kingdom through your inexhaustible grace, and guided by your indwelling Spirit.
When we break bread, do we not share in the body of Christ??
We seek to share in God’s gracious life.
When we take the cup, do we not share in the life-blood of Christ?
We seek to share in God’s gracious life.
We are present, being present, even though we are unworthy for you to come to us. Only God’s peaceful presence can nourish us in faith, binding us together in love, and filled with hope, so that we might serve in the service of God.
Let us pray:
You are blessed, God, Father and Mother for us.
You have desired to be the God of our Hope!
You are blessed for Jesus of Nazareth
Who opens for us the way to your kingdom
Of truth, of life, of holiness and grace,
Of justice, of love, and of peace!
You are blessed for your Spirit
Who urges us to sing!
-United Churches of South Africa, Gifts from Many Cultures
Reflection from Mexico Ellen
Some indigenous churches have begun to use elements more traditional to their culture such as tortillas for the bread and atole or pozol (a corn drink) or coffee for the wine. In the Nahuatl culture it is important to look each other in the eyes when sharing the elements because they reflect one’s inner song. With one’s eyes you can give a flower or a thorn. This act then demonstrates a person’s sincerity in confession both of sins as well as faith.
-Olivia Juarez and Sara Larson Wiegner, Mexico
Communion and Scripture Pastor Arlo
John 6:25-35 substituting the word “tortilla” for the word “bread.”
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the tortillas 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them tortillas from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the tortillas from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true tortillas from heaven. 33 For the tortillas of God is that which[g] comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this tortillas always.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the tortilla of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
“We have used the word “tortilla” instead of “bread” in the reading of this text because our food is not bread but tortillas. The tortilla is made from corn—corn that sprang forth from a seed sown in the plowed earth, labor done with much respect because the indigenous people respect the earth. The small corn plant (milpa) grew and gave fruit to the ear of corn and from an ear of corn we shell the grain with which we make our tortillas.
We share this tortilla in this celebration which we call the Lord’s Supper. It is a time to share our food, that which gives us life. In Exodus we read of the manna sent from heaven to feed the Israelites, but for us food is the tortilla. That is why we use tortillas and not cookies or bread made in fine bakeries. The tortilla is made by the hand of our sisters and the labor of our brothers.
Instead of wine or grape juice we are using atole made from the corn, pilon (raw sugar), and cinnamon, a drink that warms our bodies.
This is the food the Lord has given us from the land—the land in which we live, the land which bears many burdens because sometimes we do not respect it; the land which is so important to us, we refer to it as “our mother.” One of our ancestors wrote the following (let us say it together):
May the land endure!
May the mountains remain standing!
Said Ayocuan Cuetzpaltzin,
In Tlaxcala, in Huexotzinco.
Flowers of toasted maize, flowers of caco.
May the land endure!
If we want the earth to remain, brothers and sisters, we must be united, caring for the things that God has given us.
-Olivia Juarez, Mexico From Gifts of Many Cultures
Closing Prayer and Shared Benediction Pastor Arlo
Having shared this tortilla together, having heard the words of Jesus Christ calling us to love of neighbor, having heard the words of contemporary prophets telling us who our neighbors is in this world, let us now join together by going out into our community to love our neighbor!
Loving God, make us good neighbors to all the suffering and wounded of our world. Even more, help us to see them as neighbors to us, bearers of hope and salvation, calling us to conversation. Give us the courage to address the sources and structures of injustice, even if these are very close to home, and become prophets and workers in the process of transformation of this world—until it is a world that becomes what you created it to be, and image of you. And may all of us say together: Amen.
-Janet Ross-Heiner, USA/Nicargua
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