One of the great tasks of Christmas time is food preparation – from making mince pies and sweet treats, to gathering in seasonal favourites, be it chestnuts or sprouts. Eating together at some point is what many look forward to in the festivities, and indeed what many miss should their season be marked by loss.
It may seem odd that I am writing about Christmas festivities in February, but the church celebrates Christmas right up ‘til february, when the feast of Candlemas (depicting Joseph and Mary presenting Jesus in the temple) closes the season. The church also celebrates by gathering to eat and drink together throughout the whole year.
In Teme Valley North we have an inclusive approach to sharing the blessed bread and wine with all who gather. All of us have a different understanding of the mystery of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion – very small children tend to focus on belonging, and being part of a community. As we grow older we may wonder about the grace that is released in joining many different lives in thankfulness and yearning, all receiving the one bread and one cup. To use an analogy, we do not need to know the science of food to understand that we need nourishing. It is not a requirement that we know the history or theology of Holy Communion to understand that our souls may be nourished by taking part in it. We are also keenly aware that we need one another to be fed.
Our hope is that our inclusive invitation for all to gather for this service which is the heartbeat of our church life, we may be transformed in that gathering, blessed in the giving and receiving of the church’s family meal.
Come and celebrate with us this year, whatever the season, wherever you are in your faith journey. You are so welcome to the table. Come and eat bread and drink wine. You are always welcome.