The church I currently serve celebrates the Lord’s Supper four times a year. I have been allowed to include this act of remembrance also during Tenebrae and on Christmas Eve when we celebrate the Supper by intinction rather than the traditional method of serving by the passing of small cups of juice and small pieces of bread. I wish it could be included more often in our worship practice.
In the church I now serve, the Lord’s Supper is considered an ordinance rather than a sacrament. In my own theological journey I have come to embrace the concept of a sacrament. I also would prefer to call this act of grace communion rather than just the title of the Lord’s Supper.
The church needs deeper communion with God. Communion is more than just a symbolic act. Communion is an intentional intimacy. The Scripture tells us how Jesus brought his disciples together on the eve before his crucifixion to prepare them. It was a time to celebrate what had already been done and what He was about to do. It was a time of expressing love. It was a time for embracing commitment. It would be a continuing reminder of their need to have faith and to trust what our Lord had told them, even in the midst of tests and trials. It is this continuing reminder we find ongoing grace. It is in communion we are bound to the reality of our Lord’s actions and the promises which we share because of them.
So much of what is passed off as worship today is an opiate for intimacy. It makes the observer feel religious while being entertained and serviced. Worship is now crafted for the consumer and what is being consumed is a conditional sense of belonging and a convenient, though shallow, partial clone of what true communion was intended to be. However, I still believe the desire of God for intimacy with his creation can overcome this most recent trial his children face. I believe the hunger of our hearts for authenticity and intimacy will lead worshipers back to the intentional devotional that sacramental communion was intended to create.
I met some wonderful people today. I cannot even begin to explain how much I was blessed. Even though I had never met any of these people before I felt as if I had known them for years. This was a confirmation to me about the Hope God has given me.
The journey of life is filled with surprises. Sometimes those surprises take us to the lowest of places filled with the deepest of pains. Other times the surprise take us to the highest of pinnacles and profoundest of joys. There are those times of wondrous peace and calm and serenity that come with the consistent day to day life of a level walk. What is amazing is that no matter what direction or path we are on we are assured God is right there.
How good it is to serve our Creator. How wonderful it is that God brings us closer to one another as we seek to grow closer to God. How amazing it is that we can tell others about the Hope we have been given!
Adolphe Monod wrote: “We have always lived in an atmosphere so saturated with sin on this earth that drinks iniquity like water and eats it like bread, that we no longer know how to discern the sin that engulfs us from every side.”
John calls the church to face this challenge by focusing on the gift of our status in Jesus and in our destiny promised in this gift. This is our hope.
This hope purifies. It is the hope of grace. It is hope that grows stronger as we focus on God’s love for us shown by Jesus. It is a hope that must be grounded in trusting God. It is deeply relational and is expressed in a committed faith.
This hope will be the center of our worship intent as we, children of God, await His return.
For the last four months I have been using a prayer book put together by Phyllis Tickle entitled “The Divine Hours: A Manual for Prayer”. It is Ms. Tickle’s version of a book of common prayer. It has been a wonderful experience.
Maintaining a habit of daily prayer is a challenge. To maintain a habit of prayer four times a day is down right difficult. This discipleship tool not only helps develop a habit of intentional praying, it also helps one pray the Scripture. You will be amazed how much this becomes a time of conversation with God.
I bring this up now because of a TED lecture I watched today by Sherry Turkle. Dr. Turkle, a psychologist, speaks in her lecture on the need for self-reflection and solitude in our “connected” world. Solitude with God gives us time for both. We are never truly alone in creation, but we can be isolated. Have a guide based in Scripture, spiritual formation, and discipline is a great help in avoiding isolation, complacency, and leads us toward intentional intimacy in our relationship with our Lord.
Human beings change. As hard as change can be it is still a fact of life. Time changes us. Life changes us. God changes us. The only reality that does not change is the character of God.
Those who seek to know God, to serve God, to love God must be willing to embrace change. While there is often comfort in consistency it tends to foster complacency. Complacency is perhaps on of the greatest hindrances to deepening faith and greater intimacy with our Lord.
God is bring change to my life. It is a change I am embracing with both excitement and fear. The excitement comes from the opportunities and possibilities this change will bring. The fear comes from the obstacles and challenges that come from the burdens of the past and the problems of the residual memories that attempt to create doubt in the facing of unknowing. I am trusting the Lord to drive out this fear by leaning on his revealed love.
Following Jesus is a wonderful adventure. He guides us, imperfections and all, toward the promises which God has made available through faith. He refreshes through circumstances and revives through situations. It is so good to be loved by the Lord.