Our Lenten Devotion for Saturday, March 13, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
“The word that best expresses this mystery of God’s total self-giving love is ‘communion.’ It is the word that contains the truth that, in and through Jesus, God wants, not only to teach us, instruct us, or inspire us, but to become one with us.”
(from With Burning Hearts by Henri J.M. Nouwen, pages 68-69)
For me, Holy Communion has come to mean “connectedness.” Paul took the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit and turned all three into a benediction, a wondrous blessing of the fellowship we have with one another in Christ Jesus. When we people of God come together around the altar of the Lord to drink of the same cup and eat of the same bread, we are drawn together in saying, “Any friend of Jesus is a friend of mine.” It’s no longer you over there, me over here and Jesus way out there somewhere, it’s you and I together with Jesus right there in the heart of our relationship. This has been Jesus’ dream all along, as voiced in his High Priestly Prayer: “That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21).
“Communion” and “Community” come from the same root word, reminding us that when we participate in the sacrament, we are building God’s Holy Community together. I believe that this is a strong spiritual space where we can grow in our relationship with God through Christ. Each of us becomes empowered to receive God’s grace and share that with all whom we encounter, so that they too may know that God loves them unconditionally.
Dear Heavenly Father, through Holy Communion, Jesus came to give us a glimpse of life in the Garden of Eden before sin. You were in perfect harmony there with all your creation. Thank you for a preview of what is yet to come in Jesus. Amen.