There’s a commentary series entitled Feating on the Word that guides preachers and pastors through the text as it appears in the lectionary. The Revised Common Lectionary challenges preachers and pastors to look at passage they might not have considered as it pulls from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and the Epistles. It’s how so many preachers and pastors ended up preaching on the parable of the Good Samaritan on the Sunday after the tragic deaths we experienced as a country.
Because ministrieslab pops up in the midst of need, we don’t gather for worship on Sunday. We worship together on Wednesday. As we gathered yesterday, I, too, preached on the Good Samaritan after listening to a time of prayer that was deeply moving. Prayers for our country. Prayers for courage. Prayers for unity.
And in the midst of this prayer time, I became intensely aware I was the only white in the room. There is no way I could utter prayers that would be meaningful in the context of the week we had just experienced as a country, so instead I just listened.
After we had prayed, we looked at the parable of the Good Samaritan. We talked about how dangerous it is to travel alone in this world. We talked about facing the reality of finding out there are people who should help us in a time of need and experiencing them walking by. We talked as we celebrated communion together. We talked as we said our benediction together. We talked as we sang, “Amen,” together.
And as we were singing I asked if anyone wanted the extra bread from communion. I walked around with the loaf and big chunks were taking out of the bread. I smiled as those big chunks of bread returned to the cup filled with juice and soaked up some of the leftovers of Jesus’ blood. And suddenly it dawned on me, this is the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is not a reverent sacred act, but a coming together of a community of faith who desperately needs the body and blood of Jesus. This is the Eucharist. The word made flesh, broken and torn so that the people of God might come together to commune, to be challenged, and to know they are not alone on this dangerous journey. This is what we needed after the week we experienced. We need each other. We needed the reminder to feed each other whether we find each other on the side of the road or in a pop up church in the middle of a homeless shelter.
I tore off a piece of the bread and feasted on the Word with my neighbors,