Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spiritual Communion

"While this recipe was good. I'd like to hear your thoughts on how we serve communion to the church body on a spiritual level."

This comment was left on the communion bread entry and kept me thinking. On a side note, thank you for sharing your thoughts and responses! When you leave a comment or idea, it is a great encouragement for readers around the world to see God at work. Leaving a topic or comment makes it more of a conversation than a one-person megaphone--and conversations are ever so much more fun!

Thoughts about how we serve communion to the church body on a spiritual level? It had never entered my mind. Until now.

What happened when the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord's Supper? Who made the bread? Set the table, provided the meal, furnished the room? Here is where my thoughts took me--and the next two paragraphs are, as I often say when teaching, "free of charge."

On Sunday preceding the Passover, Jesus told His disciples, "Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say, 'The Lord has need of it.'" (Luke 19:30-31 NASB)

The Lord has need of it. That phrase rings in my mind when I feel taken advantage of or the Lord requires something I didn't think to offer--yet. I know it's all His, but in those difficult moments, the reminder, "The Lord has need of it," brings comfort and conviction.

The same attitude was reflected Thursday, the "first day of Unleavened Bread.... And He said to them, 'When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters.

'And you shall say to the owner of the house, "The Teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'

'And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there."" (Luke 22:10-12 NASB)

Many Bible scholars believe this was the home of John Mark, who followed Jesus and the disciples to the Garden that evening and later travelled with Paul and Barnabas. We don't have specific names; we do know arrangements were made by the disciples. The cooking and details were taken care of by __?___. That's just as it should be. The making, preparing, serving is anonymous in our own churches. The focus is not on the preparations. It is "the Lord's Supper," a reminder of His death, of how He "loved them to the end" (John 13:1). It's all about Jesus.

The bread represents His body, broken for us. The cup represents the new covenant of His blood, shed for us. Earlier Jesus had aid, " He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." (John 6:56). It's no wonder that many left Him at that time. But knowing the end from the beginning, we understand that He was not talking about a physical meal but a spiritual one. Followers of Christ we are called to ingest Him--to receive His personal sacrifice by faith that we may inherit eternal life. Through His death, His body, we exchange our unrighteousness for His righteousness through repentance (1 Peter 3:18). We come with weakness, failure, sin, ineptitude. He extends grace, forgiveness, righteousness, and holiness, when we turn away from our own efforts and rely on His.

Could it be that when we share, or speak of, the death and resurrection of Jesus, we present the body and blood of Christ? 

Among fellow believers, then, perhaps we serve one another spiritual communion when we share testimonies of God's grace, His work through His Son: over the phone, via email or Facebook, on a street corner, in a store aisle or library, even in a Sunday evening service or home church.

The Lord's Supper is not to be taken lightly--with disregard for others, harboring unconfessed sin, or in an effort to fulfill unmet desires--but with reverence, gratitude and reflection. May our memories, words and expressions of gratitude point to Christ and His sufficiency rather than to ourselves, our wit or self-righteousness. And  as we speak, as we partake of physical, regular celebrations of Christ, may we "proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord...
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God." (Ephesians 5:8-10, 15-21)

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