Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sacrament of the Holy Qurbana – Celebration of Salvation
1 John 1:1-10
v7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
For the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted every aspect of our lives, and we have had to adapt new practices, virtual church services being one of them. In today’s passage, we read that the apostle John invites us to be in “fellowship with one another,” but what does that look like in the age of social distancing and when the church is unable to come together as a community and partake in the Holy Communion?
Holy Communion is a fundamental and beautiful component of our church service, a vivid reminder of God’s grace and Christ’s victory over sin through His death and resurrection. It reminds us that “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). Jesus’ resurrection is the bridge that brings us to be in the presence of God, and by God’s grace, through faith, the blood of Jesus that was shed on Calvary “purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), allowing us to stand justified before God, assuring us of our salvation – eternal life, joy, and peace with God in His kingdom, and not eternal suffering in hell (Jude 1:7).
Holy Communion not only reminds the individual of this reality but also serves as a symbol of the reconciliation of God with all believers – the universal church – and that we are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). But even though we unable to partake in the physical elements of the Holy Communion, the call to be in fellowship with the reconciled body of believers still stands.
When Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive God’s Law, because God is Holy (Lev. 11:44), God commanded Moses to consecrate the Israelites and ready themselves physically and spiritually (Ex. 19:10-11) before meeting with Him in a large thunderous cloud at the top of the mountain (Ex. 19:16). The people were to set themselves apart from their ordinary daily routine to dedicate time to preparing their hearts and minds. In today’s times, when our church services are conducted through virtual media platforms, are we preparing ourselves before we join the Zoom meeting room the same way we would our typical in-person services, or has attending the virtual church service become somewhat optional, where participation and engagement is contingent upon our own convenience? Furthermore, have we continued to grow in fellowship with one another, using these virtual platforms for communal prayer meetings and bible studies, deepening our knowledge of God?
Many of us long to commune in the church again, where we can use all our senses to fully engage in the Holy Communion; hopefully, one day we will once again. Ultimately, the Christian faith walk goes beyond participation in the physical symbolic aspects of the service. It includes continually reminding ourselves of the Gospel, establishing fruitful spiritual disciplines – “[walking] in the light” – and doing all of this in a faithful community of believers.
Lord, we confess that we sometimes forget the good news of the Gospel and Your abundance of grace. During these stressful times of uncertainty, help us to find ultimate joy and peace in You alone; strengthen us by Your spirit so that we may remember your goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6: 4-5
Stefan Thomas, Long Island Mar Thoma Church, New York
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church