"For I received from the Lord what I passed on to you...."; the words from Paul's writing that we use so often in the Communion Service. They remind us that we sit, stand, worship within a long tradition, part of community across geography and generation, and introduce us to extent of the wider congregation of which we are part.
And this week, I used these words as I shared communion, as I do regularly, with one of our members who is unable to leave her home. Because she cannot come to the communion table, we bring the communion table to her. This month, I used, for the first time, the communion glasses, plate and cloth that used to belong to Barbara, our Minister Emerita who died last month, I have been given her home communion set to use when I share communion with people in their own homes, or in church, or in places other than church.
It is always special to share communion in these circumstances. But to do so using this set reinforced the sense of being part of a tradition; standing in the succession of so many who have shared bread and wine in unusual circumstances, and with the remembering of Barbara and who she has been for both of us made this a very particular moment.
It is good, right and proper that we seek new ways to be the church in our new generation, that we should examine our worship practices and consider whether they are appropriate for us, and truly bring our life, our faith into focus, rather than simply using second-hand and overly familiar words and actions. And so new translations of Scripture, new hymns, different ways of organising things are always worth exploring. It is exciting and challenging to look at how we have been, and reflect on what we might be and become, particularly in the way we express our service and our worship.
But we are not an isolated generation, we do not exist with apart from those who have gone before and those who will come after us. We are part of the ongoing life of the church and the Church. Communion is one of the ways we affirm that - and to use Barbara's Communion Set is for me, a privileged moment of celebrating the continuity of our life in God as the people of Christ.