This is the invitation to receive Holy Communion, which I recited at New Dublin Presbyterian Church on Christmas Eve, 2012.
Madeleine L’Engle once wrote that the basis of all stories is the simple yet profound question, “What if?”
What if? Small children ask this question. They know there is freedom in it; the freedom of curiosity. The freedom to explore that Dr. Seuss puts so well: Oh, the places you will go! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
That’s great stuff! There’s magic in “What if?” for it starts a journey; it starts a story–your story.
But somewhere along the way, adults learn to stop asking, “What if?” Maybe we don’t want to embarrass ourselves; perhaps somebody has made us feel stupid or foolish for asking such a question; or, maybe we just think that “What ifs” are the stuff of child’s play and that we should know better by now.
Well, my friends, Christmas is a story that begins with “what if” – What if God decided to become human? The story continues: What if God decided to have friends? What if those friends gathered around a table? What if they had bread and wine to share? What if?
I invite you, on the holiness of Christmas Eve, to once again be curious like a child. I invite you to wonder, if both senses of the word, what if . . . What if God does love you, just the way you are, just for who you are? What if God’s love is so big and so wide and so strong that there was nothing you could ever, ever do to make God love you any less? What if God invites you to this table in order to taste and see that the Lord is good?
You do have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. I am grateful that you have decided to steer yourselves here tonight. And now, in the name of the Lord, I invite you to choose to worship at this Table. Come, those of you who are lifelong Presbyterians and have memorized all the answers found in the catechism; come, those of you who are from other denominations and maybe even have some questions about your Presbyterian brothers and sisters! Come one and come all; come with all your questions. In fact, I invite everyone to come with one question: What if by this simple ritual, we could come closer to God and closer to one another? What if? Let us pray . . .