While Don and I were on vacation at Virginia Beach in August, we cleared out minds and relaxed. I was able to do my favorite thing, sit and watch the waves roll in towards the shore and listen to them crash on the beach. It always makes me think of both the mighty power of God and the gentle caring Spirit of God. My soul was nourished as I relaxed and spent time with God.
When we returned home and I quarantined myself for most of the next week…even as I worked my way out of vacation mode, and moved back into the realities of my responsibilities at home and at church; one of the things I kept thinking about was our upcoming Love Feast scheduled on worldwide communion Sunday, October 4. We were not able to have Love Feast on Maundy Thursday because of COVID-19, and I know it was looking like we will not be able to have it at the church this time either. The thought of missing another Love Feast troubled me. So, I tried to think outside the box to see if there is anything we can do to celebrate Love Feast.
You may remember my Pastor’s Pen in last month’s newsletter I talked about finding ways to continue ministries for both those in our community and those of us in this congregation…including all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I mentioned that we will need to use our imaginations and be creative with our planning. I reminded myself of this pep talk and knew there had to be a way to do Love Feast; and I knew it would require doing something different.
God provided an answer. We will celebrate Love Feast during our regular worship service on October 4, at 10:00 AM, but it will be different for those who attend worship at the church and those who attend worship virtually. Worship will include all the elements of our usual worship service and Love Feast. Everyone will be encouraged to participate. Everyone will receive a baggy containing what they will need to participate when you enter the sanctuary.
When we celebrate the foot washing part of the service, we won’t be washing feet; however, you will have in your baggy, an individually wrapped towelette. We will say a prayer together for our neighbor in the pew, or for those joining us virtually, someone who needs prayer at church. Then we will take our the towelette and wash our own hands, remembering the prayer we just said for our neighbor.
Then when we get to the meal segment of Love Feast, you will reach into your bag and pull out an individually wrapped piece of string cheese or something like that and we will eat together. If you think you will want a drink of water too, you are encouraged to bring your own water bottle.
Finally, when we celebrate the bread and the cup, you will reach in your bag for the prepackaged communion elements.
As is the case for all Love Feasts, there will be a brief mediation between the three parts of our celebration. We will sing and hopefully have some special music. Those who will be worshiping virtually can improvise and participate from home. Instead of using a towelette for feet washing, you can wash your hands. For the meal, substitute something else for the cheese, and for the bread and cup, be ready with some juice and a piece of bread. Everyone -- even those who have never experienced a traditional Love Feast is encouraged to participate so we can not only remember what Christ did for us, but also so we can celebrate our unity in Christ.
Yes, it will be different, but this is the kind of creativity we need to use to continue, The work of Jesus…peacefully, simply, together.” COVID will not stop us from being faithful to Jesus’ command at his last meal with his disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me…” (Luke 22:15).