Welcome to the University Church of Christ. We are so grateful that you have joined us this morning and we invite you to join us in worship to God. If you are here for the first time, you are an honored guest and we hope that you would take some time following our services to stay and give us a chance to get to know you better. If you are a returning guest we would hope that we can continue to get to know you better. Welcome to all!
There are many things that I love about this church. One of those things has much to do with our tradition as Churches of Christ. Every week as a church we talk the Lord's Supper or Communion together to remember the life, death, burial, resurrection of Jesus. There is a lot of power in this fellowship of the Table.
Typically we assemble for worship and have a shorter Welcome than this one. We sing together songs of worship to God and songs that encourage us as followers of Jesus. We pray, read scripture, hear a message, take up a contribution, and we pass a cracker and juice so that we can take our version of The Lord's Supper in order to remember.
Today we are using our entire assembly time to focus completely on the Lord's Supper. We will still have all of these other components: Welcome, singing, prayer, scripture, message, and giving. However, they will all focus on the The Lord's Supper; the table of fellowship.
The early church's gatherings revolved around the table. They literally sat around a table and allowed their gathering to sustain them and gain fellowship with other believers. It is our aim to continue to come around the table today as well.
Jack Reese in his book The Body Broken explains well why we come around the table to fellowship through the Lord’s Supper
“Here the body broken and fragmented, sinful and needy, encounters the broken body of Christ, perfect and holy, slain and resurrected. Here the church sings out its assent with the amen. Here strangers come together as family. Here the stories are told and the family connections are made. Here the death of Christ is remembered, the power of the cross fully experienced. Here we learned at last who we are. At the table enemies are reconciled and a covenant is confirmed. At the table walls are torn down and arguments rested, hearts mended and wounds salved. At the table the whole church comes to offer its sins and receive forgiveness, to eat the bread of hope, and drink the medicine of immortality. At the table, the gathered church breaks the bread so that its own brokenness might be healed. At the table Christians, bloodied by conflict within and hostilities without, drink the blood of Christ and receive his protection and care.
Relentlessly pursued by spiritual forces of darkness, we race to the head tent and pull aside its curtains. There the host embraces us and invites us to sit with his family. We join the meal. Our enemies are rebuffed. We have not come to this sanctuary alone. We have joined all nations and all races. We come as poor, blind, imperfect and needy, as unholy, unworthy, and unclean. But we are received as daughters and sons of the king. The shroud that has covered us is removed. Death is devoured and life is given, enmity is crushed and peace is granted, because here, at the table, we are welcomed by the exalted Son to eat and drink with our God.” -(The Body Broken. Jack Reese, 154-155)
So Welcome, Welcome to our worship, Welcome one and all to our table