Every Sunday in our worship gathering, we come forward to the table as a community to partake in Holy Communion.
You’ll hear us invite you to open your hands to receive the bread (rather than take the bread by grabbing it between your thumb and fingers).
Why do we make such a big deal out of this? Well, partly, because we are embodied creatures, so the posture of our bodies is connected to the posture of our souls. This is also why we make the sign of the cross on ourselves during worship, stand and raise our hands in prayer and praise, kneel to confess sin, and offer one another a handshake or hug as a sign of peace and reconciliation…
Opening our hands to receive communion helps us to let our guard down, to get in touch with our weakness and brokenness, our need for nourishment, our lack of self-sufficiency.
The quote below gets to the heart of this posture. It’s by Shauna Niequist, from her book Bread and Wine: Love Letters to Life Around the Table:
We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.
The grace we receive at the Lord’s table in Holy Communion then extends to the tables in our homes and neighborhoods.
Let’s keep coming to the table with our hands open to receive the gift of encountering God’s presence, embodying it in our life together, and extending it into our neighborhoods and relational networks.