I spent three days this week in Michigan attending our national Reformed Church in America Commission meetings. I was honored a year ago when I was appointed to be on the Christian Action Commission for the Reformed Church in America. Now, each year, I gather with members of my commission for meetings and to write papers addressing social action concerns. These papers are presented at our General Synod.
Each morning the members of various commissions gather together for worship and, on the last day, we gather for communion. Everyone in the room was either a minister or an elder and each of us had been part of the Reformed Church for a very long time. We all knew our communion liturgy rather well. I was honored to be asked to be one of the six people asked to distribute communion. It was quite an august body to be serving.
I was surprised that I did not see the printed communion liturgies placed on our tables. The worship leader began to read our liturgy, the same one used in our local congregation, and I realized that we did not need a liturgy. We each knew it well enough to say from memory the people’s parts. No matter where we were from, or what our ethnic makeup was, we knew the Reformed Church in America communion liturgy. It was what united us in Jesus.
I have heard some criticisms in recent years about our liturgy. Some people say it is too long while others tell me that using it often “takes away its meaning.” I argue that it is what unites us around Christ’s table. Even without it written, we all knew it. The communion felt as natural for us as if we were having communion back home. Is the liturgy too long or too rote? I don’t think so. It is a ritual that unites us and makes us feel at home no matter how far away from home we are.
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