given on Sunday, February 9, 2014: Due to an ice storm last week, we missed our second month of communion, so today that we the focus of the service. Within the structure of the the Service of Word and Table in the UMC Hymnal, there are a few thoughts that I added. These are those thoughts.
Scripture used: I Corinthians 10:12-13, 31 and 11:17-34, NLT
Picture the scene: A group of friends and family members all sitting around a table. Many conversations are heard between this person and that one. The sound in the room is more like a low rumble than a clear, well-focused discussion.
Yet one, sitting back in the chair, maybe with arms crossed, watches. His eyes say more than his words. He is not engaged in the conversation, he just watches.
And those eyes, the light in them shimmers and yet there is sadness and joy mixed in them. His face appears frozen as though trying to smile yet wanting to cry. His heart is breaking.
The scene is like so many we experience in our own lifetimes. There really is very little different from a family gathering or a friends’ night out. All too often we get so busy with the hubbub of those around us that the host or featured guest almost becomes unimportant..
I have been in that setting before and I am sure you have, too. I pull back from the group and simply watch what is playing out before me, and my heart begins to break.
Why? This is a happy time of fellowship with family and/or friends, so why should one’s heart begin to break in such a setting? Maybe it is some inside understanding of the changes that will be happening or maybe knowing the secrets behind the faces that cause the heartache.
Jesus pulled back from the table and watched. He knew all too well what was about to happen, and his heart was breaking. True, he had known for a long time that separation from these people was inevitable, but with the moment at hand it was painful.
At the gatherings we have in our homes or at restaurants, we watch the same scenario play out. Still one or more seem to have this unique sense of the future and sense heartache in the midst of happiness.
Today, as we continue with the service of the Word and Table, experience the heartbreak Jesus felt. Watch yourself as you realize that God, through the Holy Spirit, is sharing with you, too. Maybe there is a sense of joy that life has created for you. Maybe there is a sense of fear or anxiety that needs shaking loose. Or maybe, the Holy Spirit is saying the heartache you feel is real, but you will be able to manage whatever is ahead.
As we share in the elements used to symbolize Jesus’ last words before his crucifixion and resurrection, listen carefully for God’s words. Recognized your own emotions filling your heart. Feel the heartache if you must. Then hear the hope God offers as he shares your joys and your pains. Take confidence that in the communion experience, you, too, are one with all who believe. You are one with God, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit.
Heart breaking experiences are part of life. Our hearts can ache for others as much as for our own concerns, but with the communion with God and his entire family, we can handle all that we must. God heals broken hearts.