During the Eucharist I heard the Lord whisper,
“This is where you and I fell in love!”
It was Sunday at St. Michaels Roman Catholic Church in Garden City, SC. I was visiting the church tradition I was raised in. I came from a large Roman Catholic Family.
I had always loved Communion.
In fact, after unfortunate abuse from a priest, who was also my uncle, I had lost touch with the Church. In my personal wilderness, the one thing that I missed most was receiving Communion.
Over the years, I became friends with some non-Catholic people. We went to church together and had Bible Studies but something was missing. I spoke with them about my longing for Communion. One night a couple came to our life group and shared about how they had discovered something remarkable about having Communion; They said, “Jesus is there waiting for us at His Table every time we have Communion!”
One of my friends invited us to her home so that we could hear more about this. So Bob and Camille, the couple who were sharing their experiences, came and we had Communion together. I was so happy to finally have Communion again.
Since that meeting, we have seen countless miracles and had experiences that defied our unbelief. Week after week then became a daily devotion at home for me as well.
I have learned to recognize Jesus and His voice in my day to day living.
His presence is something that is stronger in my life than ever because Communion is personal, intimate and wonderful.
On one particular Sunday, the CommunionFire Fellowship, I was now a part of, began its “House to House Fall Tour”.
As a small group we visit churches in the area who have Communion at least once per week. The early Church broke bread from house to house. So we spend time visiting with others in the fall, as a way to encounter healing of any wrong or misguided perceptions we may have of other Christian cultures and as a way to interact with others to share about our experiences in Communion.
So this Sunday I was not going to attend with the CommunionFire group. I had a fear that I would arrive and be lost in the crowd unable to find my Communion friends. I prayed about this and the Lord said, “Ask Bob.” He is the Communion Pastor.
The Lord added, “You know, I am there!” (He was speaking of St. Michael’s.)
So, I called Pastor Bob and told him my fear and asked if I could pick up Camille and him to go to St. Michael’s? He said, “That would be fine.” So I got in the car and picked them up and we met some other CommunionFire friends in the lobby of the Church.
We were a bit early when we went in and took up a half of a long pew. Our first stop on the fall tour had begun. Pastor Bob offered to show me the Chapel of Eucharistic Adoration off to the side of the sanctuary because there was still some time before the Mass would begin. The Chapel is a place that is open 24 hours a day where the faithful prayer warriors would sign up and fill in for an hour around the clock to pray.
Roman Catholics have the Eucharist (The bread of “thanksgiving”) in a beautiful display of The Cross called a monstrance. It is a beautifully made presentation for the Body of
Jesus, blessed by the Lord as He prescribed in the Gospels and 1 Corinthians.
As Catholics believe this is the real flesh of Jesus, then the adoration is not of bread, but of a manifestation of Jesus in another form. When Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” in John 6, He also said, “If you eat my flesh and drink my Blood you have eternal life and I will raise you up on the last day. If you don’t eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life within you.” So, because they are the words Jesus uses, we have chosen to do the same.
There might have been room for 12 people in the Chapel. It was beautiful and as I observed the Eucharistic wafer in the center of the monstrance, something happened.
I saw Jesus as the good shepherd! He appeared as an image in the wafer and then I saw the face of Jesus. I can’t explain what I saw, but I did.
Then I heard the Lord’s voice, “See I told you I was here!” It was not unlike encounters I had with the Lord in my daily Communion at home or with the home group during the week.
We went back to take our seats in the large, simple but beautiful sanctuary. Although I had been to Roman Catholic churches for special occasions like weddings and funerals, it had been years since I had gone to Church for Mass.
Something was different. I was aware I had forgiven the priest who abused me and others who left me feeling isolated but I had never forgiven the Church!
God was doing something and I could sense it. As I heard the Word of God in the Mass and sung the selected Hymns I became aware of the walls of partition tumbling down. I could see the beauty of the Lord in the sanctuary through the stain glass, the statuary and in the faces of hundreds of parishioners.
I could hear the Word of God again in the Church through the priests in the readings of the Old and New Testaments prescribed for this day in the liturgy. I thought, ‘These same scriptures were being echoed in Catholic Sanctuaries around the world at the same time.’ I felt like I had reconnected somehow.
Reflecting on the evils seen in the lives of those in the church and even among the priesthood, I heard the Lord say, “It’s all about Me! It’s not about them! Worship is worship! I told you I’d be here!” His words swept clean through my heart.
I knew that the Lord was beginning to heal me of those who had broken my heart and distorted my view of His Church. He was removing my shards and replacing them with a new heart made of His flesh. This heart would not fail or falter. The miracle began by seeing Jesus in the holy bread in the Chapel of the Adoration. It continued as I saw Him upon the Cross suspended above us in the sanctuary and then in hearing His voice.
Jesus continued, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
He was speaking to me from Jeremiah 29:11-14
Then it was singing Hymn, #302 that had a verse that seemed to hit home too.
“Gather Us In”
Here we will have the wine and the water
Here we will have the bread of new birth
Here you shall call to your sons and your daughters
Call us anew to be salt of the earth
Give us to drink of the wine of compassion
Give us to eat of the bread that is you
Nourish us well and teach us to fashion
Lives that are holy and hearts that are true.
Then during the time for Communion, the Lord said, “You remember? This is where you fell in love with me!” It was true. It was the Communion that was my touchstone to when I fell in love with Jesus. Although out of respect for the Roman Catholic doctrine, I didn’t receive Communion from the priest, I knew I was truly having invisible Communion with Jesus that morning.
With the final stronghold which stood for years now broken down by forgiveness, the Lord restored the full joy we had the first time I had a seat at His Table. Transformation is the true evidence that we are in Communion with Jesus. He said to “Do this to remember Him”, now I know even better, why.
CommunionFire Gatherings are weekly gathering for people who encounter and experience clearer revelation of Christ and His domain in Communion.
The Fire is what happens after eating the bread of the Flesh of Jesus and drinking the wine of His Blood.
Since I started attending in May of 2014 I have been having Communion on my own at home on a daily basis and I journal my experiences each day. Through the fellowship and in my daily devotion I have come to a much clearer recognition of Jesus and understanding my relationship with Him.
The idea is that Jesus said to “do this” and to “remember Him” when doing it. We know from experience that what He shares with us is not just personal but produces my personal witness to others about His reality in my life and He confirms its authenticity.
Our relationship with Him is how He weaves us into His Story or Testimony and His daily activity. When we share the story of Jesus with others as a first-hand encounter in CommunionFire, it communicates what is first hand to us and not something that is 2nd or 3rd hand from others. He gives us ownership of our encounters with Him.
It’s almost like the bread we receive from Him then multiplies when we share it and the water of our conversation turns into wine as we speak of His love.
Being Communion-centric changes lives and that is my story along with others who are seeing God’s plan unfold in the light and glory of the CommunionFire.
For one, two or small group
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Believe & Receive – Be Still & Know
Have a small piece of bread and pray:
“Lord, I ask you to bless this bread to be your Body;
I do this to remember you.”
Partake & Eat saying
“The Body of Christ Broken for you”
Eyes closed, Pause for 10+ seconds, look for Him.
Luke 24:31, 35
Have a small sip of wine and pray:
“Lord, I ask you to bless this wine to be your Blood;
I do this to remember you.”
Partake & Drink saying
“The Blood of Jesus Shed for me/you”
Eyes closed, Pause for 10+ seconds, listen for Him.
Sometimes Love is the "Ink"
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