This Sunday (September 4), we will pause to pray for the life of our church. We will have time to give thanks for the life we share with one another, to give thanks for the past year at UBC, and to pray for all that awaits us in the months ahead.
As I pause to pray and ponder, I am drawn to the story of Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus. It was the evening of his resurrection when he joined a couple of his followers as they walked. Most of you know the story well, you can read it in Luke 24. Jesus’ companions did not recognize him until they sat down together for a meal. At the table, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them (see Luke 24:30). It was in that moment when they suddenly recognized Jesus. I wonder, how is UBC being taken, blessed, broken, and given? In this last year of visioning together, in seasons of joy and seasons of anxiety, in planning and preparing, have we recognized the companion walking alongside us? My hope is this Sunday, we will pause and take note that Jesus is here, alongside us.
Most importantly, as we prepare to implement some of our biggest dreams from the visioning process and as we continue to faithfully open our doors to worship, learn, and serve with whomever comes our way, I pray that we will continually allow ourselves to be given.
Among the words we will hear around the communion table this week, are these words from Henri Nouwen in his Life of the Beloved:
“. . . we are chosen, blessed, and broken not simply for our own sakes, but so that all we live finds its final significance in its being lived for others. Isn’t a meal together the most beautiful expression of our desire to be given to each other in our brokenness? Eating from the same bread and drinking from the same cup call us to live in unity and peace. Don’t you think that our desire to eat together is an expression of our even deeper desire to be food for one another? Don’t we sometimes say: ‘That was a very nurturing conversation. That was a refreshing time’? I think that our deepest human desire is to give ourselves to each other as a source of physical, emotional, and spiritual growth… As the Beloved, our greatest fulfillment lies in becoming bread for the world. The real question is not ‘What can we offer each other?’ but ‘Who can we be for each other?’”
As we give thanks for the life we share here together, let us continually ask: Who will we be as we leave our fellowship and go out into the world? Will we be vessels of the Holy Spirit, messengers of the good news of Jesus, people who speak and live God’s blessing into the world’s brokenness? Do we recognize the companion who journeys alongside us?