The Session of the Presbyterian Church has approved online communion for 2022. As this is a new way of celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, please review the document below as you prepare your heart, mind and worship space for this sacred meal with the congregation through FaceBook Live.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT WOODBURY
An Invitation to Online Communion
Celebrating at the Lord’s table together is a time in which we are united with the global church, affirming of our baptismal vows, and receive the invitation extended to us by Christ. A significant part of celebrating communion is the preparation of space. Our Directory of Worship says, “Space for Christian worship should include a place for the reading and proclaiming of the Word, a font or pool for Baptism, and a table for the Lord’s Supper.”
For the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury’s participation in virtual communion, the Session and staff would like to encourage you to engage in the following intentional practices of remembering your baptism, setting up your space, what virtual communion will entail and reading the Word for the day.
Remember Your Baptism: At 9:20am, go and wash your hands, remembering your baptism. Every time we gather at the Table, we are called to be reminded of our baptismal promises, so participating in a hand washing—something that all of us are already adhering to—reminds us that God continually makes the ordinary sacred.
Cultivate Your Space: Set up your communion space in a way that reflects your understanding of partaking in this meal. Perhaps it will mean putting a colorful scarf over a coffee table, spreading out a blanket on the floor, or putting a piece of paper on a tray table and writing out words and phrases you want to be reminded of while partaking of communion.
Prepare Your Elements: Select a cup, plate and elements that represent your household. The Directory of Worship states: “The bread used for the Lord’s Supper should be common to the culture of the congregation” W3.0413. This might look like anything from wheat bread and apple juice to pita and wine! By encouraging people to use the elements in their own spaces, we are also sending a message of asking people to practice physical distancing and safety guidelines by not leaving their houses to pick up the exact bread and drink used in communion at PC@Woodbury. We do recommend any type of bread: white, wheat, pita, hoagie or potato roll and any type of juice: grape, cranberry, apple, orange or wine to celebrate this sacrament.
Prepare Yourself: Just as you took time to remember your baptism, intentionally spend time in the Word. Read over the scripture passages for the day as a means of preparing your heart for the service of worship as well as the meal.
Sunday, July 3, 2022:
10After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you;9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town. 13“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. 16“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
17The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Taking the Lord’s Supper: As usually occurs within worship, the Invitation, Prayer of Great Thanksgiving, and Words of Institution will be spoken by the pastor. Once the Words of Institution are spoken, the pastor will extend the invitation for all to take of their bread element and to dip it into their drink element. Due to the nature of online lag, the pastor will leave more time for members to partake in the elements.
Conclusion of Worship: The Directory of Worship states, “At the conclusion of the Service for the Lord’s Day, the bread and cup are to be removed from the table and used or disposed of in a manner approved by the session, in keeping with the Reformed understanding of the Sacrament and principles of good stewardship. This may be accomplished by consuming what remains or returning the elements to the earth.” W3.0414 We will share this with the congregation, and encourage them to eat and drink the remainder of their elements as being good stewards of the earth. If you prefer not to consume them, then be intentional in how you return the elements to the earth.
We look forward to celebrating the meal that Christ offered to those first disciples, and we partake in during this season of physical separateness. Please know that we are still bound together through the love of Christ!