Sharp About Your Prayers

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Come Hungry

May 4th, 2012 · 23 Comments · Faith and the City

Some of the best questions have more than one right answer.  Some of the most iconic symbols have more than one meaning.  Philosopher and Christian thinker, Paul Ricoeur, observed that our most famous symbols and emblems have the ability to carry “a surplus of meaning” on their broad shoulders.

Take, for example, the American flag.  What does it mean?  Ask that question, and you will get a whole wheelbarrow full of legitimate answers in response.

I might speak of the thrill that went with raising the flag one dawn at Boy Scout camp.  Someone else might wax historical, citing the Flag Act of 1777.   Someone would, no doubt, talk about the meaning of the fifty stars and the thirteen stripes.  Someone would note that there are people in the world who despise the American flag.  Someone would talk about freedom and democracy and principles worth protecting.  Someone would speak with pride and sadness about the flag that sits in a polished, triangular case in their living room.  Someone would tell the story of Francis Scott Key asking, “Oh, say can you see?”

The best symbols evoke strong and thoughtful responses in us.  They pull at history and memory.  They tug at the difference between hope and reality.  Symbols can be the subject of fierce debate, but they can also unite us.  They can unite us precisely because they allow us to approach—to gather around them—in so many different ways.

This coming Sunday, we will be talking about and participating in the sacrament of communion—the Lord’s Supper—in worship.  Now, to be clear, I believe that the breaking of bread and sharing of the cup is more than a symbol, but like a good symbol, the table we set in God’s house has a delicious surplus of meaning.

This morning I am eager to hear:  “What does taking communion mean to you?”  If you have second to jot down a few thoughts, just a sentence or two, and would be willing to post them to my blog, I would really appreciate it.

Other than that, I encourage you to come hungry for the bread of life this Sunday!

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23 Comments so far ↓

  • Keith YagnikNo Gravatar

    Communion, for me, is a time to publicly remember the death and resurrection and love of Christ, a time to publicly testify about the saving power of the Passover Lamb of God, and a time to publicly communicate belief in the Holy catholic church and communion of saints.

  • Len BattifaranoNo Gravatar

    dear scott, taking communion symbolizes for me, my deepest faith in the resurrection, brings me close to my savior, Jesus Christ, and deepens within me the sense of community of all whom partake together, all blessings and peace, len

    • SBJNo Gravatar

      I think connecting the supper to Easter is a wonderful thing, Len. Stay tuned, because this Sunday’s story from Luke is about exactly that!

  • Nancy MooreNo Gravatar

    For me, taking communion means two things: a time to remember that Jesus gave his life for us, and a chance to share that with my fellow congregants as a community. It is both an individual and collective sacrament.

    • SBJNo Gravatar

      Yes, nicely said! The meal does reside in our individual hearts, but then connects us collectively to the gathered community.

  • Margaret ShaferNo Gravatar

    One evening walking down a street in mid-town, I stopped to speak to a homeless man sitting on steps (not FAPC’s) who looked familiar. Turns out we had not met, but he knew about Fifth Ave’s work with the homeless. He was eating a loaf of Italian bread, whose bag had a Day Old sticker. As we chatted, he broke the loaf in two and handed me half, saying, “Here, are you hungry?” I demurred because I was on my way to a dinner meeting, but it felt like a sacramental moment.

  • John ChadwellNo Gravatar

    To take communion, to receive communion, to have communion, to serve communion; to me, all those things mean that I am part of the family of God. I am welcome – accepted – at the table. Its good to belong.

    • SBJNo Gravatar

      These responses are wonderful. I appreciate you bringing in the serving aspect, John. It reminds me of being at the Thanksgiving table and passing the dishes to each other.

  • Heidi McKinney KellerNo Gravatar

    I find communion to be personal and intimate. For me it is a time for quiet reflection and prayer. I find it to be a time of joy and sadness like a rainbow on a rainy day.

    • SBJNo Gravatar

      What a good way to put it… a combination of joy and sadness. Not only is there not one right answer, but there is also not just one emotion playing out in our hearts when we eat the bread and sip from the cup.

  • Ellen Pearre Cason

    For me, communion is the ultimate act of communal worship.

  • Jonathan NelsonNo Gravatar

    On communion Sundays I try to reflect on how the bread and “wine” are reminders that I live on, and by, the grace of God. I try to see or feel how Christ nourishes me, and the church, just as the elements nourish our bodies.

  • Rose Cunningham (Rose)No Gravatar

    Partaking of this feast, is a reminder of the reality of redemption, Grace Mercy for all
    a wisper, “It is Finished” a certain calmness,
    a sense of PRESENCE, sacred moments.

  • Audrey CanfieldNo Gravatar

    For me, taking communion makes me feel deeply connected with Christ because I feel that he sits there with me as I take in the elements. I feel that it is one of the most prayerful parts of a worship service because I feel so connected with Christ in doing the exact act that he did with his disciples.

    • SBJNo Gravatar

      I love the fact that you sit yourself right there with the disciples, Audrey. It sounds like a family meal! Beautifully put.

  • Jessica CarmonsNo Gravatar

    For me, taking communion is a sort of reaffirmation of my faith and who I am in this world. A Christian. Its a reminder to myself that no matter what I do in my life, no matter the trials I may be going through,that I am a child of God. I am loved, cherished and guided by God. Its a reminder to myself of my choice to follow Jesus in all I do. It might be through
    participating in a protest or rally against injustice. It might be through turning the
    other cheek in a situation where I feel I have been wronged. It might be simply being a
    good friend to someone. But a reminder that for me, its all about God. Always about God and the transforming power of Love.

    • SBJNo Gravatar


      Powerful stuff here… I do think the table nourishes us to go out into the world to do good. Thank you!

  • Laura FissingerNo Gravatar

    What beauty-filled souls comprise our faith family.