Saturday, December 31, 2011

Communion - All you can eat… Free!

Read Acts 2:42, John 6:53-58, 1 Cor. 11:17-34

I present for your consideration some thoughts on “Holy Communion”, which has become the eating of a tiny cracker and thimble full of juice at church, and the wonderful, ginormous meaning behind it.

The ceremony of Communion is a metaphor of eating the word of God. Scripture often refers to eating our daily bread. Man can not live by bread alone but by every word of God. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Ps 34:8

Communion replaces the Passover meal that the Jewish people ate every year and still do. But what Jesus did at the cross was become the Passover lamb and the perfect sacrifice for all people. It also draws a reference to the manna that Moses and the Isrealites received straight from heaven. When Jesus breaks bread the supply never stops. He fed 5000 with a loaf and 2 fishes.

Communion is a word that means “common participation.” Commune. This draws all believers together. What Jesus did is for all people, not just the Jewish people. It speaks of unity among rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles.

It also draws the metaphor that we need to eat to live. If we do not eat we die. Likewise if we do not eat what Jesus provided we spiritually die.

When the bible says to “examine yourself” it is talking about some people who were treating the remembrance ceremony like it was not special. It is not for examining yourself to see if you need to ask for forgiveness of current sins. Maybe you are sinless this week? Of course not! Maybe you do not need Jesus? Of course you do, we all do. Maybe you have failed lately to live up to God’s standards. Welcome to the club. So we need the sacrifice that Jesus’s body provided. Examine yourself to see if you are acting like his body and blood are just another tradition, or a regular meal to rush through (or get drunk on).

So what did the body of Jesus provide for us? Isaiah 53:5 “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” In other words…”He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”

Yes, please.

Could it be that many are sick and weak and dead because we FORGOT that Jesus’s body was provided to take our sickness? Taking communion is a way for us to draw strength by remembering.

And what did the blood of Jesus provide? The true sacrifice that wipes out our sin from God’s remembrance as far as the east is from the west. His blood was pure and straight from heaven and not spoiled by sin, rebellion or selfishness. This is the blood sacrifice that stopped all animal sacrifices.

How often did Jesus envision that we have a communion ceremony? The bible does not say. But we do know that Passover was once a year. But we also know that bread and wine were staples in Jesus’s time. They were eaten all the time. Could it be that every time we eat and drink it is an opportunity for us to remember what Jesus did (and does) for us?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ding! It is Finished. Come and Get It!

One day as Gramma Grace was baking she heard the shuffle of little feet. She looked down and was surprised to see her busy young grandson slowly carrying his time-out chair to her. He explained that he had broken a rule in the living room and now he just couldn’t seem to feel very happy. When Gramma Grace saw how sorry he was it touched her heart. So she sat him on his time out chair and set the timer. But after a minute or two she told him he could get up and go play again. Yet how could he? He saw that the timer was still ticking and the punishment was not over. Then, to his surprise, Grace sat down on the chair! She stayed there the whole time while he freely enjoyed his toys. When they finally heard the bell chime she said, “It is finished” and she stood up. The boy felt so loved that he ran to his Gramma and gave her his tightest hug ever. And to thank her, he even “helped” in the kitchen that afternoon.

What Gramma Grace did reminds us of what Jesus did.
You see, before we were ever born the people of earth rejected God. This brought many bad things into our world. But then God sent Jesus to the earth. Now Jesus already served the punishment for all people. When he was on the cross he said the words, “It is finished”.

All we have to do is open our heart to Him. And because God hears our thoughts we can talk to him without even speaking. So it is just the two of us.

Each of us gets to choose who is king of our own heart.

That is the Christmas baby...the one who showed us grace and paid our punishment. He makes it possible for us to know God.