A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25 NIV)
Using the simplest symbols, Jesus gave his followers a way to remember his sacrifice until his return. When we take the piece of bread in our hands and hold the cup, we visualize the gospel itself: that Jesus Christ gave his life for sinners, so we could be reconciled to God and receive eternal life through faith in Jesus.
But from the very beginning, Jesus’ followers have disagreed about how, exactly, we should “do this” in remembrance of him. What did Jesus mean when he said, “This is my body and blood”? Did he mean it literally? And how often should we celebrate this Supper? Weekly, on the Lord’s Day? Monthly? Daily? And who is invited to take and eat? Everyone? Only the baptized? Adults?
In our congregation—which reflects our larger Presbyterian and Reformed heritage—we have pretty well settled most of these questions. We tend to affirm Christ’s spiritual presence in the bread and juice (as opposed to a real presence [Lutheran and Catholic], or the memorial feast concept [Baptist, “Christian,” and most “low” evangelical churches]). We also observe a monthly celebration of the Lord’s Supper (as opposed to weekly [Catholic and “Christian”] or quarterly [Baptist and most other “low” evangelical churches]).
But one question remains that we have not completely resolved: Who is invited to the Lord’s Table? For other traditions, the answer to this question is clear-cut: Roman Catholics have a first communion for baptized second graders; Missouri Synod Lutherans admit only members in good standing; Methodists will serve anyone who claims Jesus; Episcopalians and Evangelical Lutherans will admit all baptized Christians; Eastern Orthodox churches communicate baptized Orthodox Christians from the time they can swallow as babies!
But what about Presbyterians? Traditionally, American Presbyterians have practiced a believers’ Communion. That is, Presbyterians who completed a “communicants’” class and made their profession of faith in Jesus Christ were welcomed to the Table. This, by the way, is how First Presbyterian Church of Wayne has operated since anyone can remember, and it is also how Yours Truly practiced the faith when I was 12. But what about baptized Christians from other denominations and traditions? What about believing kids from other churches?
Our newly revised Book of Order (part of the constitution for our denomination), on the other hand, declares: “The invitation to the Lord’s Supper is extended to all who have been baptized, remembering that access to the Table is not a right conferred upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance, and love.” (W-2.4011a, bold added) It goes on to say that “Baptized children who are being nurtured and instructed in the significance of the invitation to the Table and the meaning of their response are invited to receive the Lord’s Supper, recognizing that their understanding of participation will vary according to their maturity.” (W-2.4011b, bold added)
So where does that leave us as a congregation? Should we let our little children receive the sacrament as they wish? Should we maintain a believers’ Communion for those who have made a public profession of faith? In May, our elders discerned that this decision ultimately rests with the affected families. Each family is invited to have a conversation among themselves about what the sacrament means to them, and how they should best participate. It is possible, by the way, that we could offer a workshop on the Lord’s Supper for younger children, if our church families are interested (please contact me if you are!).
But however we answer the question How should we “do this” in remembrance of him, we can all give thanks for Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and put our ultimate trust in him.
The session will have its regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, September 26, at 7:00 p.m.
WE NEED YOU!
Please cruise by the Opportunity Table and sign up if you are interested in providing special music for worship, in hosting Fellowship Time after worship, or mowing the church’s or manse’s lawn. There are many blanks waiting for your name!
SUNDAE SUNDAY IS COMING!
Church school is right around the corner! Starting Sunday, September 11, at 9:00 a.m., we will have church school for kindergartners through 6th grade. Invite your friends, and join the fun! We will also celebrate the fall semester with ice cream sundaes after worship on September 11.
STU BEAR OFFERING
Five years ago our church school began sponsoring a boy from Colombia named Johan through Compassion International. Funds from our church school offering (often called Stu Bear, because of the special envelopes given to church school kids) have supported him ever since. It’s time that we re-double our efforts to take care of Johan as he grows up! This fall, all church school kids will be given a box of offering envelopes. They will be encouraged to bring a gift, however large or small, every Sunday to give during church school or worship. Thank you for your efforts!
The middle school youth fellowship will meet on Wednesday, September 14, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Youth Room. They will continue to meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.
The high school youth fellowship will meet on Wednesday, September 7, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Youth Room. They will continue to meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.
A PRAYER FOR 9/11
Here is a prayer for the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
“Almighty and merciful God, you cannot be understood by one who sows discord, you cannot be accepted by one who loves violence: look upon our painful human condition tried by cruel acts of terror and death; comfort your children and open our hearts to hope, so that our time may again know days of serenity and peace; through Christ our Lord. Amen.” (prayed by Pope John Paul II on September 12, 2001)
FALL OFFICE HOURS
The church office will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., starting September 6.
FAITH COMES BY HEARING
FCBH is raising money to send BibleSticks to our troops. BibleSticks are small mp3 players loaded with the New Testament so military personnel can listen to God’s Word and find comfort, hope, and courage during difficult times. We will be receiving a special offering for the BibleStick outreach during worship on Sunday, September 18. Visit www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/military/military-outreach for more information. Pray for our troops!
FARM FUN FUNDRAISER
Jan Liska is at it again: walking to raise money for a cure to breast cancer. Come to the Liskas’ farm (57479 854 Road) on either September 25 or October 2, from 4:00-7:00 p.m., for hot dogs, s’mores, hayrides, and fun. Please RSVP by September 9 with your date choice and number attending (375-1254; 369-1552; email@example.com). You may also give online at www.the3day.org (participant is Jan Liska).
GREAT PLAINS PRESBYTERIAN PILGRIMAGE
As you travel down life’s highway, it is good to stop and rest a while. Take a break with Great Plains Presbyterian Pilgrimage, a way to seek refreshment, worship, rest, and strength for the journey. Calvin Crest, October 20-23, 2011. Visit www.gpppilgrimage.org for more information.
Our church family will celebrate the fall with an old-fashioned potluck lunch after worship on Sunday, September 18. Bring food to share; drinks and dishes will be provided.
OLDER ADULT RETREAT
Register now for the O.W.L.S. (Older, Wiser, Livelier Saints) Celebration on September 21 and 22, at Calvin Crest in Fremont, sponsored by Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries. The Tuesday and Wednesday Celebration theme is “Shalom—God’s Blessing of Peace,” keynoted by the Executive Presbyters of Homestead and Missouri River Valley presbyteries, Richard Wyatt and Kevin Keaton. The celebration offers entertainment, relaxation, knowledge, spiritual growth, fellowship, and the hospitality of Calvin Crest. Additional information and registration materials may be found at:
September is almost here, and our first meeting of Presbyterian Women this fall will be on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. with a Potluck Supper. The agenda includes food, business, installation of officers, and introduction to the new Horizons Bible Study: Confessing the Beatitudes by Margaret Aymer. Bible Study books are available for sale, and if we are lucky enough to run out of books, we’ll order more!
LEARN KNITTING AND CROCHETING
We will also host our first Intro to Knitting, Crocheting, Sewing, Etc. this fall on the fourth Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. This is a chance to learn new skills, work on projects, suggest new projects, build friendships—and eat a cookie or two! We look forward to seeing you!
HARVESTING TOGETHER – PRESBYTERY DAY
“Harvesting Together” (what God has grown) is the theme of Presbytery Day 2011, sponsored by the Congregational Development M&M Task Group of Homestead Presbytery. The event will be held on Saturday, October 8, from 9:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. at Calvin Crest. At the heart of Presbytery Day will be worship, three sections of 50 minute workshops, a Resource Center for Churches, and the Soul Desires bookstore of Omaha. A tour of Calvin Crest will conclude the day. The registration fee for the day is $10 each (lunch provided and child care) if postmarked by Sept. 8. The late fee is $15 (after Sept. 8 – lunch and child care provided). Mail registration and check payable to: Homestead Presbytery, 1135 Eastridge Drive, Lincoln, NE 68510.
LIVING PROOF LIVE SIMULCAST
You are invited to a Beth Moore one-day simulcast conference!! Life-changing Bible study with Beth Moore, inspiring worship with Travis Cottrell. Saturday, September 10, 2011 at the United Lutheran Church in Laurel, NE. The cost is $20.00 & it includes the event, lunch, snack, & t-shirt. For more information and tickets, call 402-256-9169.