Special Invitation: The Lord’s Supper for Epiphany
Observed on January 6, Epiphany celebrates God’s manifestation to the world in Jesus Christ. In particular, we celebrate the revelation of God’s promise and purpose to the nations of the world, as the Magi came from the East to worship the Christ Child, and God’s covenant of grace is extended to all who believe the good news of Christ Jesus. We see in the Magi, too, a reflection of our longing to see the God in whom we believe. One of the ways in which we continue to see Christ in our lives is through His abiding presence in Word and Sacrament. As we remember the Epiphany of the Lord during our service of worship on the first Sunday in January, it is an especially appropriate occasion to observe the Sacrament of Communion.
In this unprecedented time, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has approved the online celebration of Communion (Communion in an Emergency/Pandemic), and, according to the Book of Order, it is the responsibility of the Session to authorize the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Session of Shadyside Presbyterian Church has so authorized the online celebration of the Sacrament on Sunday, January 3, 2021. In this time when we are separated by space, yet united in the Spirit, we remember that Christ is always at work, gathering us in unique ways.
In preparation for the Sacrament, we invite you to look through your own kitchen to find “bread and beverage.” While there is rich symbolism in the elements we traditionally use to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Church also has a long history of using the most fitting materials that are readily available in any given time and setting. So feel free to be creative and use what you have on hand.
Prior to our time of worship, please prepare your worship space. Have ready the device on which you will view the service, the bulletin (available online in the worship archive) which will enable you to more fully participate in the service, and the elements you will use for Communion. Have your “bread” ready on a plate and your “beverage” poured. Any vessels will do, but you might consider using special dishes to help you remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle and place it by your prepared Communion elements. Through the light, may you be reminded that Christ is present with us all in this meal.
During worship, you will be guided through the celebration and reception of the Lord’s Supper. Whether or not you are a member of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, we invite you to prepare your hearts to receive this Sacrament as a means of grace. For Christ is our host, and He invites all who seek Him to partake of this holy meal.
Some possibilities for bread:
- any kind of bread
Note: If you have time and want to involve your family with a meaningful activity in preparation for Communion, consider baking a special loaf of bread together. Please contact Ellen Allston, Director of Christian Education for Children’s Ministry, who has shared several recipes with families by email.
Some possibilities for beverage:
- grape juice
- any other type of juice
Photograph: The Chalice, Flagon, and Plate used on World Communion Sunday, October 1, 2017, were dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Momoko H. Mills. For decades, Momoko faithfully prepared the Lord’s Table in our Sanctuary with humble reverence and deep love. Commissioned by Shadyside Presbyterian Church, the Communion set was fashioned by Deacon Garret B. Smith. We give thanks to God both for Momoko’s caring service and for Garret’s talented craftsmanship. Also visible above in detail is the damask linen from Damascus which was a gift from Mark A. Anderson to Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Photograph taken by Rebecca D. Reeder.