G'ampa C's Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Lord's Supper Vol. 8--The Antidote

When Jesus, in John 6, used a number of different directions to say that He was the Bread of Life, and if we eat his bread we will never die, etc. , what was he really trying to say?

We live in a fallen world. Our sin is huge in the scheme of things, and we all have contracted a very terminal disease. Guaranteed: the wages of sin is death. What we deserve is death. How does this tie in to the Lord's Supper?

Because when we eat the bread and drink the cup in faith, we are passing to each other the perfect antidote.

If I read John 6 correctly, the body and blood of Jesus is our antidote for the crippling, incurable, inoperable results of sin in our lives. Not a few of us, but all of us are waiting to die a defeated death without Jesus. Imagine we are all waiting for the antidote, watching as we pass it from person to person, celebrating as we watch it work, praising God for each miracle. Can the Lord's Supper be like that? IT CAN IF WE APPROACH IT WITH FAITH.

I believe the assessment of Paul in I Cor. 11 recognizes the mighty power of Communion shared between the believers in faith. When they did it selfishly, it caused weakness and sickness and death. I also believe as I said before, that it is a source of strength and healing and life when shared in faith and community.

What was Jesus trying to say in John 6? My body and my blood are truly, actually the bread of life and the cup of thanksgiving. Eternal life is here, the perfect antidote for sin.

Now, how should we share it with each other?
I can't imagine sharing a life-giving drug with my brother without looking him in the eyes and telling him how much I care. Sharing the event, knowing what is happening. We are allowed by Christ to pass to our brothers and sisters parts of their eternal salvation in that cracker and juice. What a holy moment that should be!! What a blessing that should be!! Praise the Lord for that gift!!

The Lord's Supper, Vol 7-- What should it look like?

In an effort to locate and identify for myself what the Lord's Supper should look like (maybe some of the time, anyway), I have borrowed from the Passover and my life now.

The Passover ceremony, from which our communion service grew, is remarkably predictive of the mission of Jesus. It seems like a pre-printed guide of ideas, and the parallels between the Passover and Jesus seem to shout :
For instance:
A male lamb or goat ("Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world!")
Without blemish (tempted as we are, but without sin Heb. 4:15)
Blood will be for protection (... the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. I Jn 1:9)
No broken bones (not a bone of him shall be broken. John 19:31-37)
Unleavened bread (take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you..., my body is true bread, and my blood is true drink)
A day of Memorial (do this in remembrance of me)

Given the circumstances and the close parallels between the Passover and communion, I am drawn to think they should be similar in the way we treat them. Unfortunately, I have never experienced a true, Jewish Passover meal as it was experienced 2000 years ago, but the OT does give some clues, as do many books and accounts on the internet. The more I study, the more I am convinced that the Lord's Supper should look more like a Passover meal and less like a quick snack. It may have elements of introspection, but much more of sharing and celebration. We should discuss important things and praise God for delivering us from certain death. I don't have a formal dogma about what it should look like, but I have an idea in my head of an example that seems to fit the picture:

My dad passed away unexpectedly three years ago. All the friends and relatives gathered for the funeral. After the funeral, the church provided a meal for the family and those loved ones who had traveled long distances. We ate and laughed and cried and hugged each other and remembered Daddy. We grieved his passing with support from each other. We told stories of how he helped people, how he served everyone, how he blessed us all, what he had given us, the funny things he did, and celebrated the fact that he was in heaven. This was a sort of a family reunion with a theme.

I think that's what the Lord's Supper should be; a family reunion meal with a theme. The theme is Jesus and all he means to us, and the family is us, the body. The meal is the bread and the cup we share with each other. A family reunion is full of memories and love and connections between people who share the same family lineage. It is inconceivable that a family reunion could happen in silence and introspection and self-examination, at least in my family, anyway.

In the sharing of the Lord's Supper with each other, we allow the Lord to fulfill his covenant of eternal life with us, we recognize our brothers and sisters as family and the body. We remember that God made us to need each other. Finally, we recognize the body for what it is-- a group of individuals saved by the Great Passover Lamb, called out of bondage and delivered to a new life. I have witnessed many times now how the power of the Spirit was strong in the sharing of the Lord's Supper, how lives were changed and people became one. I can testify that the Lord works mightily in the face-to-face give and take sharing of the Lord's Supper, and it is a bit sad to think of all the years I really didn't quite understand it at all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Lord's Supper Vol. 6.1--- the Saturday Night Thing

About the whole Saturday night thing in the earlier post.
The Churches of Christ have held a long-standing tradition of having the Lord's Supper on Sunday and only on Sunday-- the first day of the week. This arises, as near as I can tell, from the reference in Acts 20:7.
"On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread."
The Bible contains both exclusive and non-exclusive examples and commands. An exclusive command can be seen in Exodus 13:3-10, involving the eating of unleavened bread during the Passover. Verse 6 is a non-exclusive statement about the eating of unleavened bread: "For seven days eat bread without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the Lord." It is non-exclusive because it doesn't rule out leavened bread. The statement becomes exclusive in verse 7: "Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen within your borders."

Acts 20:7 is a non-exclusive example. It doesn't preclude other days. If the text had said "Meet together on the 25th day of the 12th month to give gifts.", would we still feel comfortable giving gifts on Father's day and Mother's day and anniversaries? Probably so. Combine this with the fact that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper on either Wednesday night or Thursday night (depending on whose references you read), and that the Jewish day began and ended at sundown, not midnight. Also, Acts 2:42-47 might be saying that they broke bread daily in their homes, which is probably a reference to the Lord's Supper.

Since I was very small, I have heard the phrase "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent." We just haven't done that very well. In the case of the Lord's Supper, we have taken Acts 20:7 to be exclusive and limiting, and ignored other texts. Should we break bread on Sunday? Absolutely. Should it be exclusively on Sunday? Probably not. If I am with a group and they are convinced it should only be on Sunday, I would never press the issue and weaken their faith, but I believe the Lord's Supper can be taken any time on any day, if we are true to the memory of Jesus and his body when we take it. Our mission team members shared the Lord's "Supper" early each morning on our trip, and drew great strength from it for the day's work. I can only believe the Lord was smiling those mornings as we shared, because he worked marvelous and unbelievable things on that trip.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Lord's Supper Vol. 6--Discerning the Body (cont.)

The church at Corinth was having trouble with divisions, and their Lord's Supper was being taken so selfishly that Paul said it was NOT even the Lord's Supper.
If I look at I Cor. 11 and concentrate on Paul's assessment----that the church's NOT discerning or recognizing the body of Christ around them caused them to be weak and sick and even to die, is there an inverse deduction to be made?
That is, if NOT recognizing the body in communion causes weakness and sickness and death, does RECOGNIZING the body in communion bring health and strength and life? Is it another part of a covenant agreement? I can draw no conclusion but YES!
How do we reach out and claim that part of communion?
I don't think there is a formula for what is supposed to happen when we share the Lord's Supper, but I can tell you what I have witnessed.

I have watched as people shared with each other at HEB Camp. What was said varied a great deal. The recurring theme I see, though, is that communication and eye contact and touch have a strong effect on the moving of the Spirit in the group. Something changes by the power of the Spirit when we communicate and recognize our family. We share our souls with those around us, and they share with us. Many, many people have commented on it. Is it really this simple? Can changing how we do something in so simple a way really make such a difference? It seems so.

In our Life Team, we try to meet each week and one of the things we do now is share the Lord's Supper. Different people lead it in different ways, but we always look at each other and communicate. Many times, we take turns by deciding who we should share with. That is, we get the bread or cup and go to a person across the room, and share. This requires everyone to pay attention and be discerning of those not yet served. (Probably good practice for healthy church.) It has become very important to our group, and it is not uncommon for someone to call or send word that they will be late because of a meeting, ....and could we wait for the Lord's Supper so they can be there?

I was a member of a mission team last summer, and we had been meeting and praying and preparing for months and months. Even up to about three weeks before we were to leave, things hadn't felt right, and we were struggling. Satan was pushing hard to stop us before the trip even started. Our group met at a friend's house one Saturday after lunch to spend the day together relaxing and discussing. Two of us, then three of us, then four of us became involved in a discussion of the Lord's Supper which lasted a couple of hours. We talked about what it meant and what it should be, and the things we believed. A couple of us went to the store for crackers and juice, and after our evening meal we talked to the group about what we wanted to do and why. We shared the Lord's Supper sitting around a ping pong table. As we passed the bread and the cup, we shared about things we believed and how we were being blessed, and how others had blessed us. We looked into each other's eyes and shared. This was a first for me on Saturday night (I'll talk about that later). As we shared, many of us were moved to tears as we celebrated God's working. Over the span of an hour or so, the Spirit worked in us and we became a team. It was as if a burden was lifted from all of us, and we went to our mission in celebration. We saw God do amazing things that we could never have imagined. I believe everyone in that group felt different, we had been changed. And I doubt that anyone will forget that Lord's Supper around a ping pong table one Saturday evening. Nearly all that team met again earlier this week to send a dear couple off to a new job in New Mexico. We shared the Lord's Supper again and passed rich blessings around the table. We cried and laughed and shared, and we celebrated being one even when we are apart. We have truly become family. The richness of watching and listening as someone pours out their heart to a brother or sister is also important, it is like sharing a part of yourself with others. That may be the true call of Jesus and the true message of the communion: Be self-less in what you share.
There is no question that this selfless-ness allows others inside our own space: it does. It is not something that comes naturally and easily. But..... isn't it true that we can never experience the saving grace of Jesus while we keep him at arm's length? He wants us to let him in...... not just his Spirit, but also his body. Isn't it also true that we will be judged by the world (either as disciples or not) based on our love for each other?

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Lord's Supper Vol. 5--- Discerning the Body (cont.)

The Lord's Supper text in I Cor. 11:17-32 is remarkable. The church was having trouble with divisions. The text shows us they may have had a common meal with the Lord's Supper, one they brought from home. Paul said what they ate was not the Lord's Supper, because they did not eat it as a unified body (-the paraphrase is mine). One had nothing and another gets drunk. They were forgetting that, without the sharing, it was just a plain meal they had (or, in our case...just crackers and juice), which they could better do at home. Paul recaps the Passover meal which the Lord apparently gave him knowledge of, and he uses it to remind them what they were doing, and what they were doing wrong.
Can you take the bread "in remembrance of Christ" while ignoring his body?
Can you share the cup "in remembrance of Christ" while selfishly catering your own meal??
In verse 27...therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
I grew up believing this meant I should take the Lord's Supper in humility, in reverence, in silence, with introspection and prayers for forgiveness. None of those things are bad, but I don't think that is what Paul means. Look at why they are being scolded:
each of you goes ahead without waiting on anybody else...

One remains hungry and another is Drunk.

Do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?

A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. (WHY?--the unspoken question)
---For anyone who eats of the bread and drinks of the cup WITHOUT RECOGNIZING THE BODY OF THE LORD eats and drinks judgement on himself. THAT IS WHY many among you are weak and sick and a number of you have fallen asleep.
The church at Corinth did not realize that actually sharing in the supper made them all one. Each of them went on selfishly with their own party as if others did not matter. THEY DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE BODY OF JESUS DOWN THE AISLE AND IN THE NEXT SEAT!!! They did not remember Christ was all around them, and the phrase "In remembrance of me" was being ignored. As a result, Paul said some of them were weak, some were sick, and some had died. I have heard some discussion about whether that is physical or spiritual. Physical or spiritual, it is still serious business.
If taking the Lord's Supper selfishly caused them to be weak and sick, and even to die, there is great and miraculous power involved here. I don't think that power can be denied in our day, any more than we can deny the necessity for the Lord's Supper.
I believe Paul's charge to examine ourselves is in reference to the way we relate to the body, those around us, not in reference to our own sin or guilt. (Remember leaving our gift at the altar?) I will never be able to make myself worthy, and no amount of prayer or introspection can accomplish that, but I can take it worthily by recognizing the body I share it with. The term "worthily" or "in a worthy manner" implies an action on my part, and according to Paul that action is directed at the body around me. We eat and drink judgement on ourselves when we don't relate to each other, when we are selfish, when we forget the body is next to us or across the aisle. In the early days of the church in Acts, Luke describes the members having "everything in common" --- the opposite of selfishness.

Our normal communion service usually involves less than 10 minutes, while serving as many as 1700 people. The trays are passed in an orderly fashion to allow the quickest completion of the job. Silence, introspection, even navel contemplation. Our thoughts are inward or upward, How do we relate to each other in this? When we keep to ourselves, is that not selfish by definition? Is our church weak and sick and dead because of the way we take the Lord's Supper? Are we willing to take the time required to make it a communing event? A self-less event? Is it possible that we miss the great potential power of the covenant because we fail to make it a sharing event?
When I started this blog series, some might remember that the study was to prepare to lead the Lord's Supper at camp. When I had reached this point in my little review, I didn't know what to do next. How did the church do it two weeks after Pentecost? I don't think we really know. What is the focus of the Lord's Supper really supposed to be?
I landed on the word "communion" and realized that it was the same root as "communicate". We needed to communicate. Would communicating help us recognize the body? Was that possible?

My Journey down this road had beginnings at that HEB Camp worship service, where I asked everyone to PARTICIPATE in family groups. Take the bread to someone else and look into their eyes and communicate. "I love you" or "This is the body of Jesus, and he died to give you life." or "I'm glad you are here to share with me." I wasn't sure at all what to say. I didn't know how people would respond, but I began to see sharing and tears and people communicating everywhere. Nearly everyone got hugged. A couple I didn't really know (but love deeply now) say that was the first time they really shared the Lord's Supper. The cup was passed in a similar fashion, but to different folks. It took time, it was a bit unorganized, and definitely out of most of our comfort zones (mine included). But it was rich and powerful. The Spirit did something in the sharing.
Slowly, over the next few months, I began to think of the Lord's Supper as a sharing event. I began to look around the auditorium at church and wish I could get up and go to someone and share and communicate. I became painfully aware that I had missed the point all these years, and I had been guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. I began to look forward to sharing the meal in our Life Team, where we took the time and trouble to talk to each other and look into each other's eyes. Something inside me was different, somehow. I began again to study the Lord's Supper. What a journey it is!!

Lord's Supper Vol. 4: Discerning the Body

Two of the most familiar passages about the Lord's Supper are found in I Corinthians 10 and 11.
In I Cor. chapters 8-10, Paul was working through his discussion of how the freedoms of faith should never be used in a way to harm the body of Christ. Food sacrificed to idols was the common thing of the day, and Paul used the concept to open the subject of the Lord's Supper.
I Cor. 10:14-17--- Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a PARTICIPATION in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a PARTICIPATION in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all PARTAKE of the one loaf.
Like the Israelites, we participate in the covenant so we can then participate in the promises. (Eternal life, no less...) But what else is happening here?
Paul apparently wrote the letter to the Corinthian church from Ephesus, some 200 miles away. He didn't say "You" become one, but "WE" become one. Somehow in the breaking of the bread, distance or different places of meeting did not matter. We are one body for we all participate in the eating of the one loaf, the Bread of Life. Does that mean something happens between you and me when we take the Lord's Supper?
Yes, I believe it does.
How do I get a handle on that, and what should it mean to become one body? Hmmm.
Part of it is involved with recognizing or "discerning" the body. Being part of a body means we are aware of the other parts, we are not alone. Anyone who has gone out barefoot and stumped their big toe so the nail breaks off down in the quick knows what this means. Did the rest of the body go on about its regular activities as if nothing happened? NO!! If we, as parts, share a common body, one part doesn't hurt without the others being aware and trying to help and protect. One part doesn't feel good without the rest enjoying it. We are intimately bonded with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, and those bonds affect our spirituality in many ways.
Look at this statement:
Is that true?
Look at Matt. 5:23-24. Why does my gift stay at the altar until I am reconciled with the person I have offended? Is it because those offenses limit the effectiveness of my gift? Or is it a heart issue, a failure on my part to recognize that I have stubbed a toe?
How do I become so connected to my brothers and sisters that this really works? It begins, at least in part, when God answers the prayer of Jesus in the Garden.
Jesus prayed what I believe is the true Lord's Prayer in John 17:20-26. He prayed for us to be ONE, as he and the Father are ONE. That's pretty close, that one-ness. Like being in the same body, like becoming ONE body when we all partake of the one bread.
Do I look at the communion service as an answer to the prayer of Jesus? Do I plan on becoming one with my partners in communion, do I expect that miracle to occur?
Or, more succinctly, should I?
My faith is defined by what I expect God to do in any given situation. If I approach the Lord's Supper expecting God to work in it to form bonds and break down barriers, what does God do?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Lord's Supper Volume 3: Covenant (continued)

When Jesus "instituted" what we call the Lord's Supper, it was in the context of the Passover meal or a precursor thereof. Look at his language:
"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the Kingdom of God." (Luke 22:15-16)
Why did he EAGERLY desire it? If it was for his disciples' sake alone, would he have said for I will not eat it again? I believe Jesus knew that the meal was special and would give him strength for what he was about to suffer. He considered the meal to be miraculous in its power. What need could Jesus possibly have when it comes to power? Hmmm.
Now look at the language he used in John 6:52-59. Remember the covenant language of "Do this, and I will do that"? Doesn't he make a pretty good case for a covenant in the Lord's Supper? Look again at Luke 22:20. "THIS CUP IS THE NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD, WHICH IS POURED OUT FOR YOU."
What is Jesus trying to say? We have a deal: eat my body, drink my blood, and I will raise you up at the last day. I promise. My promise is a covenant.
I think I used to have a good handle on the (in rapid succession) hearbelieverepentconfess....BE BAPTIZED... and you will be saved. I didn't have a handle on the covenant of his meal.
There's just one problem, and that is that these covenants are faith issues. If I believe that God will do nothing when I am immersed, do I limit what God may choose to do in my behalf? Probably. I certainly limit the grand view of faith and forgiveness he has for me. What about the Lord's Supper? If I do not see the meal with eyes of faith, how am I limiting what God will do with it in my life?
Or, conversely, when I do look at the meal as a covenant promise, a promise of eternal life, a participation in the sacrifice of Jesus, then it is truly a miracle, right here. Every bit of cracker, every sip of juice......eternal life.
When I got to this point in my little study, I got scared. Have I really been missing the point all these years? Is this cracker and grape juice really a salvation issue after all? Have I really been that blind to what Jesus had planned?
Better go look at some more text and work this thing out.......

Lord's Supper Volume 2: The Covenant I

It seems proper somehow that a study of the Lord's Supper is incomplete without a discussion of the Passover meal from which it grew.
The Old Testament is often highlighted by events where God (sometimes through men) made simple covenants. They usually sounded like an agreement:
"If you will do this, I will do that." For example:
Noah was told to build a boat, and he and his family would be saved from the flood. (Gen. 6:11-22)
Abram was told to leave his country and his people and God would make of him a great nation, and bless all the people of the earth through him. (Gen. 12:1-3)
The Israelites were told to paint the blood of the lamb over their doorposts, and the Destroyer would pass over them. (Exodus 12 & 13)
The Israelites were told to keep the terms of the Law, and God would bring them to the promised land. (Exodus ch. 20-24); etc.

In the case of the Passover, the blood was a part of the covenant that the Israelites were to pass down to their children and grandchildren, forever. They ate the flesh of the Passover lamb, and drank cups of wine to signify their participation in the deliverance from egypt and from the Destroyer. The telling the covenant to their children was even part of the agreement, and the ownership of their firstborn children was to rest in God until the father "redeemed" his firstborn with a lamb of sacrifice. Over and over, reminders were placed in front of the Israelites to help them recall their deliverance. When God gave them the Commandments and the Law, they agreed to his terms and he sealed the covenant with blood. The blood was evidence that an agreement had been reached. (If you will do this, I will do that.) The Passover meal described in the Law was more than a sticky-note to remind the Israelites of past events, though; it was designed to bring them under the agreement, the promise; to make them personal participants in the covenant. Keeping the Passover meal let each new generation agree anew to the terms of God's Law, and therein to accept the promises of the covenant.
In the past, I missed the point that the Passover was absolutely vital to life in Jewish society, particularly to those who were not eyewitnesses to the Exodus. If the covenant was made to your ancestor and not to you, the promises of that covenant are more troublesome to apply. The Jews had a truly difficult task when they tried to apply the promises of God to themselves even 100 years after the Law was given. It was essential that the Jews became participants in the Law and Passover, so they could have faith to see themselves participating in the promises. The Passover was a life-giving link to the promises of God; a rich and powerful emblem of God's covenant.
This is the beginning behind the covenant meal in the New Testament.

Lord's Supper Volume 1: Introduction

Having been asked to post my convictions about the Lord's Supper on the WWW, I will try to Blog those ideas over the next couple of weeks as I have time. I have posted several parts on several different sites at different times, but I will try to coalesce the random cosmic rays into a more concentrated beam.
Disclaimer: I don't know Greek, I am not a scholar, read at your own risk. I generally study out of the NIV.

Twice each year, our church family has a Family Retreat at a beautiful camp on the Frio River near Leakey, Texas. We always have a Sunday morning worship service there. Three years ago, I was asked to take charge of the Lord's Supper during that worship service, so I looked at the old familiar passages to prepare for communion. Having just studied some things about communion in our Life Team's study of Luke, I began to build on that study to be ready for the retreat. I became troubled as I began to see those texts in a new light. The Spirit had a journey ready for me which I could not possibly have foreseen. This series of blogs is a review of where that journey has taken me, and is still taking me. I don't have all the answers, I don't even have all the questions about communion, but I am convinced the Spirit has been leading me to look for both.
To be fair to any potential readers, I must confess that I now believe something miraculous and powerful happens, or should happen, when we take the Lord's Supper with the Body. There is no formula for what happens or how things happen, because each meal is different. We come to the table in a different state of mind and spirit each time, with the typical (or not so typical) baggage over our shoulders, concerns and stresses and issues that are tugging at our attention. The LifeTeam I am involved with, and the mission team I served with last summer have been looking at the Lord's Supper and trying to follow the biblical pattern (both inferred and direct) for the meal. It is and has been a life-altering process. Once again, having no formal biblical training, I must rely on the plain text and the powerful things I have seen and heard.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Better Than I Deserve

I've been thinking all evening how really blessed I am. The handful of you who know me know how I answer the question "How are you?" ----
....Better than I deserve.
I spent the weekend in OKC with family and dearest of friends, and spent a little time talking with my son-in-law, who is quickly becoming the son I never had. He has a tender heart and loves the Lord, and isn't embarrassed to talk about spiritual matters. What a blessing that is! I have a faithful wife who loves me. What a blessing that is! My children are growing their own faith. What a blessing that is!
I could go on for days, but might overload the blog site.
Even with all those things I count as blessings, it is an Old Testament text which reminds me of the Grace of God and makes me answer "Better than I deserve."
It is Psalm 103 that my bible flips open to with little page-turning.
v. 8 ff
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

How often do we take a breath and think of what grace is about? I spent the first forty-something years of my life living mostly under law...and grace is better.
Grace is the spring which brings life to how we should treat our brothers and sisters, as well as our enemies. It is grace which God uses to rain on the just and the unjust. It is grace which shows us how to forgive....not only when we are asked, but when we are not. It is grace which makes me so aware of my birth-blessing-- to be born into a Christian family against all odds in the world. To be blessed above almost every other human being on this planet. It is no small thing, this grace under which I mostly live; This grace I love and fear and occasionally turn away from to go my own way.
Without grace, who could know God as a compassionate and loving Father?
Without grace, I worry over this life and fear the death I will someday face.
But by the grace of God, I am truly, really, miraculously better than I deserve.

I suspect there are several out there who read this blog, though I know of only three or four. Do we live under the same grace? Do we have a common Master? Did Jesus die to free us? Is our eternity planned in adjoining rooms? If so, we have much to celebrate, because we are all better than we deserve.