Dear Friends,

Know that I have prayed for you in these weeks of sudden separation.  I worry that many of you may be struggling to remain optimistic as I have at times.  Alas, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding, and to that end we continue to celebrate what our Lord and Savior has done, is doing and will do!

Recognizing that COVID-19 will peak in the next few weeks, Bethany will be switching from weekly drive-through communion to online home communion.  What is that?  Beginning this week, Palm Sunday, each time we begin worship online we will invite you to gather communion elements from your own kitchen in preparation for Holy Supper later in the worship service.  You can gather bread and wine, or a bagel and juice, or other elements available. The exact nature of the element is less important than the sincerity of faith to receive these elements as the very ‘real presence’ of Jesus’ body and blood.   If you only have one of two elements, the fullness of Christ is present.  At the time of communion, the Pastor will direct you to lift up your elements as the Words of Institution are said, and then you may take turns distributing the elements to one another with the words; “the body of Christ given for you”, and “the blood of Christ shed for you.”  Any leftovers can be discarded into the ground.  For those children who have yet to receive communion instruction, we invite parents and sponsors to make the mark of cross on their foreheads saying the words, the Body and Blood of Christ is Given and Shed for You.

We believe Holy Communion is different than a simple symbolic gesture, rather, Holy Communion is God’s Word in action.  When the Eucharist words are said God’s abundant grace forgives, nourishes, and unites his followers as the body of Christ. It is the foretaste of the feast to come; in it is the promise that one day when our Lord and Savior returns, he will transform our whole world from heaven to earth into the new peaceable kingdom.  It is in sharing of this Sacrament that God proclaims that even now in view of the Cross of Christ, the virus has already been defeated.

We hope that Holy Communion in your home will be one more practice of many practices to nurture your faith life as a follower. Continue to pray, fast, read and study scripture, and be the church in this time of change and opportunity!

In God’s Grace and Love,

Pastor Jon