The church to which I have been appointed, Red Valley UMC, just over a year now has also moved to weekly communion. My congregation knows so well that since my coming to Red Valley, I believe the Spirit of God is present in the means of Grace, and that includes the observance of weekly communion. Like Rev. Joyner and this pastor had experienced, we at Red Valley have found that once we begun this discipline of weekly communion that people within our congregation have found great spiritual growth attributing to communing weekly at the Lord’s table.
However, as I come to write this reflection, I am reminded by our approved document This Holy Mystery that we are to use the liturgies only from resources approved by the United Methodist Church. Although the UMC does offer some variation to its liturgies, it does not change its words to engage the particular texts of that week. This is most difficult for me as I see the basic pattern in these holy liturgies and often see where the scriptures of the week could add to the liturgy of The Great Thanksgiving. The point in which I am wrestling with in this post is the desire to explore using scriptural references from that week within the basic pattern of the Great Thanksgiving and that of following suit with the liturgy of not Joshua King, but the liturgy (or better known as the work of the PEOPLE), in using the liturgies of the UMC.
I believe as I wrestle with this, I was moved by the article above as I remember that it is not so much I that makes Communion special or the words that I may add to the Great Thanksgiving, but rather God’s Grace and the real presence of Christ offered to us, God’s people. This article at the very least reminds me that if I find that the words of these liturgies have become rote, maybe it is time for me to reflect once more on what the words of these litrugies are actually conveying and remember once more the mighty grace offered to us in this Holy Meal.
May I remember that by repitition, these liturgies of The Great Thanksgiving be written not solely on the page from which I read, but by God’s grace upon my heart.
If you are interested in further discussion, Bishop Whitaker offers another reflection on The Great Thanksgiving being that of the catholic* (universal) church’s prayer. But it so does seem to me that Bishop Whitaker also leaves room for the pastor to add to the prayer as long as it is done in accordance with the scriptures and nature of the church. Read more of Bishop Whitaker’s article: Praying the Church’s Prayer in the Eucharist