3-31-21 Rev. Lora East

“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 13: 23-26

I had been at BPC for about 3 months when I traveled to Mexico with our adult group to build a house with Amor Ministries in the fall of 2019. It doesn’t matter how many years BPC had been going, or how many stories I heard about the trip. It’s the sort of thing I just had to experience to really understand. I’ve been to Mexico before on previous mission trips, and I’ve been camping before, and I understand the dirt and exhaustion of manual labor. But this particular trip is so special to the BPC community that it was important to go so that I could have a greater understanding of the heartbeat of this Church.

I was told that we would share in communion our last night at the campfire, so I brought my brand new communion pitcher, cup, and plate, which had been ordination gifts from a few months prior. I was so excited to get to use this communion set for the first time, not just as a part of any regular worship service, but around a campfire in Mexico as a part of a housebuilding trip with my new community.

On the last night, the fire was started and our chairs were getting arranged around the fire. I made my way to the kitchen on the campgrounds to pick up the warm tortillas that we were going to be using as communion bread. It was about 100 yards distanced from our campfire, so I needed my flashlight to journey through the darkness. Once I got to the kitchen, I was warmed by the kitchen lights and the laughter coming from within. I chatted with the small group of Amor employees gathered in the kitchen while I waited for the tortillas to be warmed up. We talked about cooking and food, about the upgrades they were making to the kitchen, about how many people they serve at the campsite. When the tortillas were warmed, they were handed to me wrapped up in a cloth napkin, and I felt their warmth through my hands. I thanked them, stumbling with my Spanish, and made my way back to the campground, only able to see the fire in the distance.

About halfway to the campground, I stopped and turned off my flashlight. Behind me was the light of the warm kitchen, in front of me was the warm campfire, in my hand was the napkin of warm tortillas, and there was nobody else around. I looked up to a sky full of bright stars, and my soul was quenched by the Spirit of God.

I felt a wave of gratitude to God for calling me to this time and place. Not only to serve this community, and to experience this trip, but on a bigger scale: this vocational calling of ministry, this life of journeying alongside the people of God.

I felt a wave of connection to those I was walking towards and those I had just left, to those whose house we were building, to those who survive on very little and those who thrive with plenty.

And I felt the warmth of those tortillas, soon to become the bread of life in my hands, the breaking body of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the night that he was betrayed and told his friends to take, eat, drink, remember.

Every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we do so with everyone from every time and place that has shared in this feast, through the mystery and miracle of the Spirit of God. As we shared communion around that campfire back in 2019, as we shared communion in in-person worship, and even as we have been sharing communion from the comfort of our homes in online worship services, or in the back alley of the Church through Drive Up Communion, we are drawn into Christ’s presence and united as the body of Christ.

I look forward to sharing in communion with you tomorrow night at our Maundy Thursday service (live via Zoom) at 7pm. Bring your own communion elements for us to participate in this sacrament together.

May you feel nourished and fed by the Spirit of God this Holy Week, quenched by God’s amazing grace.

Your sister in Christ,