Remembering and relationship

Relationships are built and nurtured by words and time and commitment.

I’ve been extremely blessed to be in relationship with a group of men who have made a covenant to practice this together. For 28 years we have met together for 4 days each year. Our time this year again was shaped by words of inquiry, discussion, and confession It included banter and laughter and prayer. Relationship requires also working and walking together, which we did literally – rebuilding a fence, hiking in a national park, visiting several historical sites. We ate together, worshiped together, exchanged ideas, shared wisdom and divided evenly the cost of being together, though some of us flew in from the West Coast, and others had only a few hours drive.

We have discovered that our collective memory is more complete and accurate than any of our individual memories. It is not important that we remember every detail of our times together over the years. But it is important to remember that we were all once very young, to remember we have a story, and to tell the same stories over and over.

This remembering is an act of reconstituting – not only of our group, but of ourselves – of locating ourselves in the flow of time and on the map of God’s purpose for our lives. Being able to say, “You are here,” provides security and orients us for where we need to go next. That’s true in big buildings, in crowded cities and in life.

The Lord’s Supper is, of course, an act of remembering, reconstituting, reorienting. We remember God’s relationship with us that is being built and nurtured by the Word, through time and over the years. “This do in remembrance of me,” Jesus instructed. And when we do, this act of coming together locates each of us in the unfolding story of God’s purpose for all of us. “You are here,” the Lord says to us at communion, “and I am here with you.”

You may not have a “covenant group” like I do. But if you are a member of a church, that group of people can and should be that for you in every sense of the word. It requires, of course, commitment and time and shared life and the act of remembering together. Which is why communion may be the most important thing we do together.

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