Our Reflections in the Water: The Memorial & Communion Service
By Jesse N. Love with Sophia K.R. Agtarap
Thursday evening’s Memorial and Communion service served as an opportunity to remember and celebrate friends and colleagues in the connection who have gone before us to join our great cloud of witnesses in faith.
The Rev. David V. Valera, Director of Connectional Ministries, delivered the message for Thursday night’s service, asking the questions, “What is a disciple?” and “What is disciple-making?” In trying to answer these questions, central to our practice as Christians, he warned us to not get too caught up in the conversation, or in over-defining ‘discipleship,’ which has had the tendency to lead to the forming of committees and legislation which are eventually recorded in the journal. In journeying on this road to discipleship, Valera challenged us to seek what we are finding in our walk; eventually discovering Jesus along the way. His advice to the congregation: “Disciples, get the gospel preached! And, use words if necessary!” Valera exclaimed.
Valera asserted to our audience that whatever makes us disciples, we should do it. Whether that took the form of ‘Discipleship 101′ classes or collaborations with other churches and organizations–whatever it takes for us to learn new things, we should do it. Referencing our Conference’s own, the Rev. Craig Parrish, it’s not about ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’, it’s about being disciples and making disciples. It’s a challenge to refocus our gaze on who is beyond our church walls and what new relationships we might build.
In our journey outward, we will begin to remember who we are as Christian disciples. Who are the people who have touched our lives? Were some of these people in the worship area during Thursday night’s service? In naming these foreparents in faith, we in-turn remember the beloved clergy and laity we have lost in the last year. In our remembrance we also remembered the church that closed it’s doors–a space which has been used in God’s glory.
Following the Rev. Valera’s message, Dayton Edmonds, along with the Revs. Mark Galang and Meredith Dodd led a hand-washing Water Ceremony. Names of those within our connection who we have lost were read as we invited their loved ones to have water poured over their hands. This served as a way to remember the symbolic meaning of water: our birth, our baptism, not just our physical connection to the earth, but of our spirit. Water serves to help us remember our connection to those who have walked with us in our journey as disciples.
The Memorial and Communion Service was a time of remembrance of the disciples in the Pacific Northwest who have gone ahead, while sending us on a journey towards a future with hope.
Jesse N. Love serves as the Print & Publication Manager for the PNWUMC; Sophia K.R. Agtarap serves as the Director of Communications and Outreach for Seattle First UMC.