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Pastor Cheryl Matthews Report

Dear Friends in Christ:

It is with joy that I share the Good News that we will be offering the opportunity to share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion "virtually" during our Facebook Live worship services. This comes after receiving a letter from Bishop Jim Arends of the LaCrosse Area Synod of the ELCA and receiving the go-ahead from our executive committee.

Each individual or family will provide the bread and wine (or grape juice) for the communion portion of the service. At the beginning of each communion service, I will invite the household to designate a communion leader for the day's worship service and to have the bread and wine/grape juice ready on their home altar. This can be at table set with a table cloth and candle, a plate with the bread, and a cup with the wine or grape juice. I will invite the leader to lift up the bread and wine when I share the words of institution and to share the elements with those who are at home with you when I give them to the worship team here at church.

Holy Communion (or Eucharist) is the sign and seal of our communion with the crucified and risen Lord. Jesus shared meals with his followers throughout his earthly life and ministry; in common suppers and miraculous feasts. Jesus spoke of himself as the bread of life, and the true vine, in whom we are branches. On the night before his death, Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples. He spoke of the bread and wine as his body and blood, signs of the new covenant and told the disciples to remember him by keeping this feast. On the day of his resurrection, Jesus made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of the bread. The disciples continued to devote themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, prayers, and the common meal.

The Sacrament of Holy Communion offers an abundant feast of theological meaning, including: thanksgiving to God the Father; remembrance of Jesus Christ; invocation of the Holy Spirit; communion in the body of Christ; and a meal of the realm of God. Holy Communion connects us with God's saving power and providential care from generation to generation. Communion is a sacrifice of praise and a sign of our gratitude for God's steadfast love. Holy Communion represents God's gracious invitation to an everlasting covenant. Holy Communion also reflects our calling to feed others as we have been fed, and offers a foretaste of that heavenly banquet when God will wipe away every tear and swallow up death forever. Holy Communion enacts and seals what the Word proclaims: God's sustaining grace offered to all people. Holy Communion is at once God's gift of grace, God's means of grace, and God's call to respond to that grace. Through Holy Communion, Jesus Christ nourishes us in righteousness, faithfulness, and discipleship. Through Holy Communion, the Holy Spirit renews the Church in its identity and sends the Church to mission in the world.

When we gather at Holy Communion the Spirit draws us into Christ's presence and unites with the Church in every time and place. We join with all the faithful in heaven and on earth in offering thanksgiving to the triune God. We reaffirm the promises of our baptism and recommit ourselves to love and serve God, one another, and our neighbors in the world.

We give God thanks for this amazing gift of grace - the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Pastor Cheryl L. Matthews

ELCA logo Christ Lutheran Church is part of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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