Communion Meditation

Pride and the Table

Pride and the Table

There was once a man who was very proud. “I have no need for church,” he said. “I have earned all the respect I will ever need from my scientific community. Look at my awards displayed so beautifully in my office!” That night the man died. As he was ushered into the presence of God, the Lord said: “Depart from me, worker of iniquity.” “But, but,” the man stuttered, “I tried to find you in nature and you weren’t there, I tried to find you in philosophy and you weren’t there; why should I be sent away from paradise when I honestly searched for you?” God responded: “When you were a child you knew me, you were baptized into my name, but as you grew you despised my name when you left the church, you despised my community when you left my people, and you despised my food when you chose to dine with false gods. Now, depart from me!” It is no trivial thing to despise the true God and his true bride, the church. The moral as we come to this table is: “Don’t despise the body. Don’t forsake your Lord. This table is yours.

The Table of Laughter

Robert Frost once wrote that “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” He is quite right. But part of that laughter theme only makes sense in light of the resurrection. The promise that Yahweh will laugh at the nations (Ps. 2) is a promise that begins at the resurrection. We could say that the resurrection was Yahweh’s great laughter over evil. And as we approach this Easter table, Yahweh still laughs over evil, and we participate in this glorious laughter when we eat and drink together, for we no longer stand with Mary weeping at the empty tomb, but we stand with Mary as she rejoices in the New Adam who rules over the world.

Easter Meditation for the Lord’s Supper

The Resurrection of Jesus created this newly gathered body, called the Church. Of course, the Church had existed since the Garden but never has the Church possessed such glory, such overflowing joy, and such unity than when she was bathed in the Resurrection waters. The Old Church needed a thorough cleansing, and from the empty tomb flowed these rivers of life that begin this washing and cleansing of Christ’s Bride. Christ was raised for the sake of His Bride and World.

This meal is a continual celebration of the empty tomb. This is why this is a table of joy. The last Supper is now replaced with a new Supper each time we meet. And because this is a new meal it never becomes bitter to our taste. His mercies are new each time we gather as Resurrected people. Come and eat.

Advent Recapitulation, Eucharist Meditation

This morning though we recapitulate the Advent story, we do not live this Advent story as those in the first century. In that time, their expectation was filled with the sorrow of an old world and covenant. Today, we expect in this season with new eyes; the eyes of a people who have seen the glory of God and have tasted of his goodness. Advent is glorified for us! We expect this morning fully aware that history is moving forward to the eternal consummation when Christ will resurrect his Bride and make her perfect for the feast.

We eat with our Lord already having tasted of His Advent, but longing for more advents. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus and refresh us as we eat by faith!

10 Reasons for Weekly Communion

This should be an ever increasing list:

  1. Jesus says, “Do this.” We desire to do all that Jesus tells us.
  2. Paul says that to partake is to participate (I Corinthians 10:16). We desire to participate in Jesus’ life.
  3. The Table builds fellowship (Acts 2:42). It is our desire to be ever increasing in fellowship with one another.
  4. The table builds glad and generous hearts (Acts 2:46). We desire more gladness in our hearts.
  5. The pattern of worship demands what Augustine called the “visible word.” We need word spoken and word tasted.
  6. We are all members of one body and drink of one Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13). Therefore, we should taste of that oneness weekly when we gather.
  7. Jesus says, Do this “as often” as you drink of it (I Corinthians 11:25). Therefore, when we meet, which is weekly (often) we should Do This.
  8. The Supper is a gift and we should never refuse a gift.
  9. We pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). If the Lord gives us bread each week and we refuse, are we then refusing his answer to our prayer?
  10. We need grace. If the Supper is a means of grace, why would we simply desire it monthly or quarterly?

Theology and Missions

We are typically placed in scenarios where we have to decide between false choices. Either theology or missions? But this is not a question we have to answer, because in Jesus we have the greatest theological fact of history: the fact that he embraced our humanity and became like us. Jesus’ arrival on planet earth through a virgin birth was a missional arrival. He came to be for us a theology to be embraced and to set a mission to follow. Jesus came as a missionary from heaven’s mission agency and now calls us to participate in his mission of making earth like heaven. Theology is mission and mission is theology. These are inseparable.

This is why when we eat bread and drink wine we are not communing based on an abstract theology of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but on a theology that actually moves us to enter into his missionary story. Jesus comes as bread from heaven to heal broken humanity. He comes as the new wine to give humanity hope. We are not bound by false choices. Our choice is to follow Jesus and to commune with He and his people.

Weakness that turns the world upside down!

Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. –Jonah 3:3

This could serve as a great motivational speech. Here is a city known for its brutality. It is great, yea, exceedingly great! This is David and Goliath re-told. The odds are against you. The magnitude of the opposition is evident. How can God break this army of barbaric men?

“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.

That’s it! A message? But it’s too simple; too foolish, one might say. Too weak! Yes, too weak; the type of weakness that turns the world upside down. “Not by might or power, but by your Spirit.

This is what we have at this table: a meal that by all appearances seems weak: a little bread and wine. But by the Spirit, this meal becomes to us a meal of life and abundant life. Bread represents the body of our Lord. The wine represents the blood our Lord. The weakness of the crucified body and blood given for us is the means to transform the opposing army; to form us into obedient servants, so that the greatness and exceeding might of Nineveh will become the exceeding might of our blessed Lord Jesus.

Down and Up: Jonah and Jesus

 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.-Jonah 1:3

A few words ideas to keep in mind: First, in the beginning of verse three Jonah flees from the presence of the Lord. At the end of verse three Jonah flees from the presence of the Lord. In the middle of verse three he goes DOWN to Joppa and then he also goes down into the ship. Away from the presence of the Lord and away from the presence of the Lord, and the middle makes that primary point that Jonah is going down and then down again. He goes down to Joppa and down into the ship, and then he goes down into the belly of this creature. Down into the city; down into the ship, and down into Sheol. This is the progression of death; the progression of disobedience.

At our table today, Jesus offers you a progression of faithfulness. He was faithful by not abandoning His Father. He took on Jerusalem and proclaimed the gospel of peace and reconciliation. And at the end, after going down for three days, He came up in His resurrection and up into the right hand of God where He sits ruling and reigning.

On Hearing: From Confusion to Clarity

And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” –I Samuel 3:10

The text says that Samuel has gone through the phases of confusion and he has now reached the phase of clarity. From confusion to clarity. That seems to be a summary of the Christian life. The chaos of our day-to-day, the voices that are constantly seeking our attention, so much happening all the time that at times we forget to hear. Samuel is ready to hear. The sins both locally and nationally that plague his nation do not keep Samuel in the state of perpetual confusion. He is finding clarity. He knows well that clarity can ultimately be found in the One who makes all things new and who brings us from chaos to community; from corruption to careful reflection. Speak, for your servant hears!

God has spoken! And as you come to eat and drink as one body, you come ready to hear. This entire service has been a systematic plan to get you to listen. And if you have listened, now you can eat in peace for God is ready to feed you and there is nothing confusing about that.

The revealing

…so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. Luke 2:35

Jesus comes so that we may receive him and reveal him in our thoughts and actions. He comes as our consolation, but also as our confrontation. He confronts us in our misery and sin and asks us to respond with pure hearts and humble voices.

Our hearts are made clean by the appearance of the God-Man whose heart revealed nothing but purity and love.

Today we eat and drink together expecting that God would reveal what is within us and in this revealing we may be found worthy of the gospel we have been called to proclaim.