G'ampa C's Blog

Friday, June 22, 2007

Another Communion Post?

A significant amount of dihydrous oxide has passed under the spanning archway since my last post on the Lord's Supper. Looking back on it, I have left some things out.
I will plod along with them as I can.

When the Lord started the whole thing on the night he was betrayed by Judas, he knew what was up. He was going out to die on a cross. He knew his disciples needed to be participants in that event, participants in his promises. He and the disciples were grounded in the Passover with all its nuances and covenants, and they had a history with a whole nation of people. When he made it his new covenant, he invited his disciples (then us) to be his people, his nation, his royal priesthood. Just as he knew Peter would deny Him, he knows we will disappoint him too, but He invites us, anyway, gladly, hopefully, proudly. His love for his disciples and for us is such that he invited Peter as well as Judas, to the meal. He does not expect us to be perfect to participate. When he calls us to assemble to break the bread and share the wine with him, he is calling us to Koinonia with a capital K. Every way that Greek word is translated to English, he wants it with us and wants it between us. Sharing, communion, participation, communication, in short: Intimacy with Jesus the Saviour, God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Body of Christ. Intimacy beyond friendships, beyond family members, beyond earthly understanding. As Paul describes, we are feasting in His temple, participating personally in his death and rising, and joining Him and each other in His Kingdom. We are becoming one in and with the single most important event in all of history and the One through whom it occurred. It is monumental, it marks the redemption of all the Saints by the blood of the Lamb, and Jesus invites us to the celebration. It shows that we believe he did actually die, he did actually rise from death, and therefore his promises to bring us to eternal life are 100% reliable. Communion calls us not to boredom and naval contemplation, but to celebration with our brothers and sisters that WE ARE VICTORIOUS IN HIM!! Jesus went to Hell with our sins and beat Satan on his own turf, even with those handicaps. Then He came back for us. Our team just won the Championship game. Do we sit quietly while we contemplate the meaning of a personal foul? Do we get up and file quietly out of the coliseum? Do we avoid eye contact and communication with others lest we disturb the tranquility?
I'm not proposing irrational frivolity in our worship service. But... if winning a simple ball game brings us to our feet screaming and clapping and passing high fives all around, should we not be called for a little celebrating over our eternal salvation? The battle has already been won for us!!!
Every time we take the communion, it should be like New Year's, Christmas, and birthdays all rolled into one. What a gift we are passing to our brothers and sisters! What a gift they are passing us! We need a realization that it is not just a sign and not just a symbol, it is the reality of Christ's body and blood, it's evidence.
It's evidence that we still believe. It's evidence that we are players in the game, not just spectators. It's evidence that we have something in common which transcends all the categories which divide us. We are participating once more in the New Covenant Promises, with a Master who never, ever breaks his word. It's evidence that Jesus walked here and told us his body is truly bread and his blood is truly drink, and if we eat and drink of him he will give us eternal life.
If we can really do that in silence, without some mild celebration, without a knowing look deep into our neighbor's eyes, without watching those around us as they take the antidote for sin, without tears and laughter, without longing to tell each other what Jesus has done, then do we truly believe eternal life is real?

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  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger Serena Voss said…

    I keep having trouble leaving a comment. I left one a bit ago, but it hasn't shown up. I may try again later to reconstruct it.

  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger Serena Voss said…

    Water under the bridge, aye?

    Okay, I will try again....

    God's Holy of Holies resides within the Christian. To the extent that we celebrate that gift in our homes or workplaces, we will bring it to our assemblies.

    It is a gift worth celebrating every moment of every day.

    But sometimes, we quench the Spirit and sometimes our hearts are grieved and we may not feel like celebrating anything.

    In an authentic community, we should be able to share our burdens, but in real life it takes time to build the relationships necessary for that to happen.

    So when we assemble on a given Sunday, some of us may be happy and some of us may be not much more than functional zombies, some of us might be physically exhausted just finding a seat, and some of us might not have even shown up. Some of us are connected with our brothers and sisters and some of us feel very much by ourselves. Our time together is going to reflect that.

    I am grateful that in whatever state we are in, God is there, can meet us where we are and can bridge the gap of who we are now and who he wants us to become.

    I think that as we develop authentic community in our daily lives with God and our brothers and sisters that it will spill over into our worship.

    The more we can connect on that level, the more we open up ourselves to the treasure God has in store for us both now and in the life to come. And that is worth celebrating!

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger G'ampa C said…

    We all have times where we are tired or down or angry or blue or whatever. Those are the times when the celebrational characteristics of communion are especially important. The celebration is IN SPITE OF the way we feel, at least some times. It is so important to remember that "official" worship is a couple of hours a week squeezed into our day to day lives, while everything else is "unofficial" worship. I agree that the day to day truth should bleed over into official worship and be the norm, not the exception, but I am also aware that the communion of the Saints is a great boost for my spirit. Who can say what effect a truly thankful or tearful (and still celebratory) sharing might have on someone who has lost a loved one, or divorced, or been under any other stress? I really wish I could watch the whole congregation share and celebrate the Lord's Supper the way it feels to me most of the time. I know that's not reasonable, but it has changed me forever. One of the really potent things for me is when I allow someone inside my space and they allow me inside theirs. The communion which can result is incredible.
    For instance, I can't share the Lord's Supper with Wes without smiles and tears and falling at the feet of Jesus. I just hate to think of my brothers and sisters going through life without ever experiencing that.

  • At 9:15 PM, Blogger Serena Voss said…

    I agree. Something happens when we allow communion to be observed up close and personal.

    Jim and I, along with our kids have had opportunities through the years to have our own communion service where we brought along the grape juice and we made our own unleavened bread.


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