I’m getting lonely and restless. And this is not a sprint, it is a marathon. We are giving up so much so that we can help our community. We are fasting in action, in community, in gathering, in communal worship, in sharing touch outside our households.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about my call, you know that Eucharist is the primary source and focus of my call. The Lord’s Table is the way in and the end goal of my calling to ministry. And I don’t know when we will be Celebrating again. We are caught in an age of uncertainty, now even made more uncertain by the pandemic surrounding us. It would be comforting to share some Welch’s grape juice and King’s Hawaiian bread right not. And, we might get some to go with our green grapes on Easter. But it won’t be communion. We won’t have the body with us.
The Invitation to Holy Communion
A spiritual communion is a personal devotional that anyone can pray at any time to express their desire to receive Holy Communion at that moment, but in which circumstances impede them from actually receiving Holy Communion.
The presider invites the following prayer to be said by all:
My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
(St. Alphonsus de Liguori, 1696-1787)
We yearn. We yearn for the presence of Christ. We yearn for the gathering of our community again. We yearn for the table of our Lord to be shared. We yearn for the Kingdom of God to come.
But these things are not for now. For now, we fast. We shelter at home. We are apart, but we are not alone. And we pray.
Fasting – based on Matthew 6:16-18; written for St. Andrews UMC pastored by Rev. Sherri Barnes
Holy God, we confess that we are unsure of what fasting looks like in the midst of great sacrifice. We are tempted to point to what we are giving up in the midst of social isolation and canceling everything, and say all of that is good enough.
God, it is hard to not look dismal these days.
Haven’t we given up enough?
Though we mourn what we are losing, turn our hearts toward what you offer us.
You see us where we are.
Guide us to find you in the midst of our empty spaces where we do not know what we are doing or where we are going.
Remind us of your presence when we are frustrated, confused, and worried.
Help us to be examples of hope in the midst of the unknown, in the name of Jesus Christ, and the strength of the Holy Spirit; Amen.