For the last several Sundays, I’ve been attending a new church. I’ve been part of a small group in some friends’ home for the last two years and over the summer, they took a much-needed break. The leaders began the group again, but this time on Saturday nights, which doesn’t work with my schedule since Saturday is my only “official” day off work in my speaking/writing business.
I decided to start attending a local traditional church on Sunday mornings, because one thing Ray hates for me to spend his hard-working money on is gas, driving to churches an hour away!
This morning the church had communion. I’ve always loved communion. There is something so holy and special about taking the bread and the wine (in this church’s case grape juice!), representing the precious body and blood of Christ.
Roman Catholics consider the “Eucharist” (communion) the highlight of their Mass, the highest and most important form of prayer. The Mass is divided into two sections, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. They believe it actually turns into the body and blood of Jesus–called “transubstantiation.” (I don’t personally believe this, but many practicing Catholics do.)
For the Jew, bread was equated with the Torah, eating and understanding of the covenant of God. (cf. Deuteronomy 8:3).
The word “Eucharist” comes from:
- the Greek eukharistia “thanksgiving, gratitude;” later “the Lord’s Supper”;
- from eukharistos “grateful”;
- from eu “well” + stem of kharizesthai “show favor”;
- from kharis “favor, grace.”
To give thanksgiving; to be grateful; to show favor. When we take the Eucharist, this communion wafer or bread, this red wine or Welch’s grape juice, we give thanks and are grateful, we worship God, and remember what Jesus so selflessly did for us. To save us from this wretched body of sin and make us holy and right with God, so we can live with God for eternity in heaven.
He died so we could live.
It’s easy to be thankful in the good times, the blessed times. But what about the bad?
- When tragedies such as the Paris attacks, where at least 129 people were killed and 352 wounded, occur?
- When your child gets sick?
- When you lose everything you have? (Although I don’t believe in “The Universe,” I don’t do yoga, and I’m not into Feng Shui, I do think this article I found googling is good.)
- When there’s severe financial struggles?
Last night I had a dream about me and my sister Maria. She and I were both afraid and angry about something. We went into this place that was pitch black, where God was. I sensed His holy presence there and felt the fear of the Lord, the kind that caused prophets and priests to fall flat on their faces before Him. He spoke to me in the dream and said, “Give your anger and fear to Me.”
When I texted my sister the dream today, she asked, “Why was it pitch black?” I explained that in the Bible, God is sometimes described as being surrounded by darkness: Deuteronomy 5:22, Exodus 20:21, and Psalm 97:2. He is a dark mystery we can’t see, and must search for.
In the darkest night, God’s light and glory shines the most, and we can still give thanks for who He is, no matter the outcome.
Ann writes in One Thousand Gifts: “It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us…”
Christ is most present to us, always. You are not alone. Give thanks. Remember what Jesus did.