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An Alternative

Today’s Reflection

CHRIST INVITES US to come and share in an alternative to the anxiety and fear we experience and enact daily. It is as if Christ is saying to us, “Come to the Table of perfect love that casts out all fear and anxiety. Here is more than enough! All the fullness of God is here. When you come to this Table, greed motivated by fear will forever be inappropriate and unnecessary. Repent of it. When you come to this Table, all exclusion, hate, and vengeance must be left in God’s keeping. Come now; come, and count on God’s generosity toward all.” This invitation includes confession and pardon. The invitation requires the gathered community to deal with its own brokenness and sin. Love shared, not sin remaining, is the focus of the Eucharistic meal. The meal is for those who have forsaken conflict. The invitation, confession, and pardon call us to anticipate the new heaven and new earth.

—Gayle Carlton Felton
“Holy Communion in the Life of the Church: The Theology and Experience of Reconciliation,” Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table

From page 29 of Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table edited by Thomas Porter. Copyright © 2006 by Discipleship Resources, an imprint of Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Does today’s excerpt encourage you think of communion in a new way?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”
—Mark 14:22, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

God of forgiveness, help me forgive. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

A special invitation to the Daily Reflections family: Upper Room Books is offering a 15% discount on books purchased from The Upper Room Bookstore during the month of April. Use promo code APRIL15 when you make your purchase at bookstore.upperroom.org. Offer excludes packages and non-discountable items.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Jill April 11, 2019, 5:32 am

    My experience with communion has always been a very solemn, quiet and personal time. I don’t know that I have ever considered those around me, what they are “bringing” to the table, where their hearts are. I have a hard enough time focusing my mind, quieting my heart and taking an appropriate humble soul posture.
    Will be interested to read others’ thoughts on this.
    Today is mom’s funeral service, with calling hours prior. Monday and Tuesday were very busy, but yesterday was kinda an empty day. I spoke with dad in the morning – and he was missing mom terribly. His poor tattered heart. Both of us are struggling with sleep and I hope he was able to get some rest last night – as today will be long and heavy.
    I still have not had spring break – it is Good Friday and the following week. Dad wants to go to the beach – so to the beach we shall go. Dad does not want to be with family on Easter – said he would feel like a fifth wheel. I hugged him and told him I have been a fifth wheel all my life – we would be fifth wheels together. But – he wants to get away, he has missed traveling so much. So, we will walk and walk and walk the coastline, and allow God to heal our hearts. Mom’s birthday is the day after Easter – another good reason to not be at home, but at the serenity of the beach.
    Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers.

    • L April 11, 2019, 6:36 am

      Good morning Jill! May God continue to bless you and your family, today and always. I am so proud of you and the courage that God gives you. It means a lot to me just see your posts again. You gave much respect doing these last days tending to family business. You consecrated more on your family issues. Prayer changes things!

      • L April 11, 2019, 6:41 am

        Tell your daddy to hold on! May God give you, your dad, your sister and other family members love and peace.

  • Betsy April 11, 2019, 7:25 am

    I try to leave my burdens and concerns at the alter when I go to receive the sacrament, but it is hard sometimes to not pick them back up. I liked the author’s quote that “The Table is for those who have forsaken conflict.” I strive for that.
    Jill, you’re in my heart on this day as you prepare to publicly say goodbye to your mom. I think a trip away with your dad is a wonderful, healing way to honor your mom’s birthday. The beach is such a restful, quiet place to do that. God will show up. Prayers.

  • Andrea April 11, 2019, 7:40 am

    I feel a mystery when I take communion, the sense that I am participating in something very holy and ancient, going all the way back to the Last Supper. I have pictured myself at that table, and it humbles me to realize I am one in Jesus’ unbroken circle of disciples, directly receiving forgiveness and His command, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

    I pray for Jill and her father and sister today at Gloria’s funeral and visitation, for their strength and solace, and afterwards, for good rest.

  • Julie April 11, 2019, 8:01 am

    I first encountered communion as a teen in the Episcopal church. It is very solumn and very private. We are to close our eyes and never touch the host. I am still awkward at the Methodist communion rail. I want to reflect alone and close my eyes and be with Christ in that moment. I have never thought of others around me. This is an enlightening concept especially given the scripture regarding not going to God’s table until you ask forgiveness from those you have wronged and forgiving those who have wronged you. Even at the first communion there was conflict and forgiveness.
    Prayers for Jill and her family on this emotional day. A vacation to process the past weeks is a beautiful idea. May the promise of the beach as well as your mother’s finally being at peace and free of pain sustain you. May God embrace you today as we here in your UR family will also be doing.
    Prayers for Mary and her mum, may her mum’s health and appetite improve.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich, may their journey to a new home continue smoothly.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she be well.
    Prayers and blessings and warm hugs dear UR family. Thank you for your prayers and kind words. Welcome L to the family of commenters.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 11, 2019, 9:46 am

      Thanks Julie!

      Was with my mom at the host today as her condition weakened. She’s on drip now as she cannot swallow. Last night she can swallow and even opened her mouth for more food. Today, the doctor said she had lung infection. She slept the whole day. I commit my mum into God’s hands. Cancelled my tuition today.

      Glad that Jill and her family could spend time at the beach to be refreshed and recharged.

      Thank you everyone for your prayers.

      May the peace of God be with you and your family!

      May we all experience the fullness of God’s love at communion!

      Blessings!

  • Connie April 11, 2019, 8:54 am

    It has been too long since I have taken communion. Receiving the “Body and the Blood” is a special sacrament in my life. Years ago at my former church they handed out cards and one said regarding communion “What if God sent an invitation and no one came”.
    Prayers for Jill and her Dad and family, Mary’s Mother, Andrea and Lowell, Betsy’s Bill and all the dear ones here.

    • Connie April 11, 2019, 9:06 am

      I meant “Edy’s Bill and his surgery”

  • Edy April 11, 2019, 11:10 am

    Oh Communion has always been my favorite sacrament. One time a priest told me to imagine you are at the table ( the whole communion rail) as a large table leading to heaven. Seating at the head is Jesus and all your loved ones that have gone to heaven are also there. I’m so grateful to belong accept that invitation to be at His table! Thank you all for prayers for Bill. Only 4 weeks to go now till he is under the care of a surgeon and God! I trust Them completely. FHS, edy

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