One of the most challenging questions with which I had to wrestle in discerning and testing the call to ordained ministry in South Africa was how I knew that I was called to be a minister of both Word and Sacrament. At eighteen, that seemed an impossible question to answer but it certainly started me on a deep and meaningful journey into what significance the rituals of baptism and holy communion have in our relationship with God, with one another, and with the world around us.
These simple lines in the Basis of Union are some of my favourites:
The Church lives between the time of Christ’s death and resurrection and the final consummation of all things which Christ will bring;
the Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal;
here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come.
On the way, Christ feeds the Church with Word and Sacraments,Uniting Church in Australia, Basis of Union, Paragraph 3
and it has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.
One of the aspects of community life that I have most missed during this time of self-isolation and social distancing is the open table around which we gather – from such different circumstances – as brothers and sisters in Christ to acknowledge our need, to receive the free and lavish grace of God, to honour the invisible bond that connects us beyond time and place with the Church Universal, and to envision our role in making Christ present to the world which he loves.
All of this in a broken loaf and a shared cup!
As I share this photo today, I wonder:
- what are you missing most of your Christian community?
- what is sustaining you on the way?
- how have you encountered signs of God’s grace in different ways?