Pastor’s Ponderings May 2024

To the church of God as found at Marion Salem Church, called to be saints together with those in every place who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ: You are miracles of God’s grace and mercy!

I’ve had some conversations lately that greatly encouraged me as it concerns a deep spiritual desire that seems to be bubbling up in our congregation. These conversations have centered around the topic of Communion. What’s so encouraging about this is that there are folks here at Marion Salem that want to make Communion more available. This comes in a couple of ways. The first is making certain that we are appropriately extending the Table of the Lord to our shut-ins. The second is offering Communion at gatherings besides Morning Worship. The only hard thing about either of these is already behind us, the desire within the congregation to celebrate the Sacrament. So, let’s talk about how to accomplish both.

It is the historic practice of the Church that ordained Elders are responsible for overseeing the sacramental life of the church and presiding at the Table. This does not exclude the laity from assisting in service, and those who are willing have served in worship regularly here at Salem Church for years. When we talk about extending the Table we are essentially saying that on Sunday mornings, when the Table is put back in order after we partake in worship, it is appropriate for lay folks to come forward at the end of the service and take bread and cup to those who were unable to attend the service. I recall reading this was done even in ancient times. Those little cups of juice can make it awkward to drive to someone’s house. There are solutions both with prefilled-sealed cups and mobile kits. In either case, those elements are blessed with the others during worship and taken along with relating the Word shared that morning. If you’re interested, please see me and we’ll get this started.

The other means of increasing our participation in the Sacrament is having Communion during small group meetings or at other gatherings. Again, this is easily accomplished yet there is a right order. First, the pastor has to be involved (no worries if this slipped by in the past). The usual manner this is accomplished is that I would attend and participate, either for the entire meeting or simply to offer Communion at the time appropriate. If I’m unavailable or it is best for the small group that I not attend, I would simply meet with the leader of the group and we’d prepare the elements for Communion together before hand. It only requires a little planning ahead, just reach out about two-weeks before hand and we can make sure this happens.

The Protestant Reformers looked towards two things as the sign of the Church: The Word of God being rightly taught and the Sacraments rightly administered. It is a joy to serve where there are those who are just as concerned with the latter as to the former because as a pastor I dedicated my life to such service. So if you’re a small group leader who wants to incorporate communion in an upcoming meeting, let me know. If you are interested in helping serve our shut-ins, let me know. And if you have been unable to receive communion for any reason, please reach out to me or the office so that we can ensure you have the opportunity to receive the gift of grace that Christ offers us in the Bread and Cup, His Body and Blood.