English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Greek for “fellowship,” specifically, Christian fellowship.  It’s that thing which happens when the Holy Spirit moves among God‘s people, inviting them to share smiles and embraces.  It happened during church today.

Today we experienced worship with Communion coming at the end of the service.  In this particular worship service, we take communion by going up to the front to receive the elements, which we then consume before going back to our seats.  We usually sit on the third or fourth row, so we get to see pretty much everyone from the rows behind us as they return to their seats.  They hug people in other lines or speak to people sitting on the aisles.

I remembered this morning a similar Sunday two years ago, in July.  I’d learned that two women in our Sunday school class had had grandchildren still-born, just weeks apart, and our Communion Sunday was right after the birthday of Sue’s grandson.  I was sitting in this contemporary service, and Sue was sitting behind us.  My family and I went up to receive the Lord’s Supper, and as Sue came back to her seat behind us, the Holy Spirit prodded me, “Go hug her.”

I argued (how many people are surprised by that?).  “We don’t move around like that during Communion!”  “What will people think about this?”  “Mom would have a hissy if she knew I was going to do that.  We just don’t do this.”  To every protest, the Spirit repeated, “Go hug her.  Go hug her.  Go hug her.”  Finally, I decided that obeying the Spirit and sharing mercy were more important than any oppositions I could offer.  I slipped out of my seat and walked around to Sue.  Sitting down beside her, I hugged her while she cried.

In the years since, I’ve divorced myself from worrying about what other people would think about my expressions of worship and love.  This has transferred to my children, too.  My youngest was dancing at her seat today, and when she dances, she puts her whole self into it.  I celebrate that she allows the Spirit to move in her with such abandon, and her father and I encourage that.  We want her to live her life worshiping God with joyful abandon.

How have you stepped outside the box during worship or to obey the instructions of the Holy Spirit?


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