Friday, March 29, 2013

String Communion

Have you heard people say that communion is only a remembrance?  I have heard that countless times.  For a long time, I believed it.  Then I was confronted with questions.  So I had to compare this notion of remembrance only to scripture, or read how others speak of the new covenant that Jesus brought to us.

When we see an image of a finger with a string tied around it, we know what it means.  It is a remembering device.  "Don't Forget!"  Once you have remembered your task, you take the string off your finger and go about your normal business. Much like an adulterer who takes the wedding ring off, to go about his or her forgetting of marriage vows.

 Is that what Jesus meant when He told us to "Do this in remembrance of me"?  In a culture where stories and words had preeminence, was it merely a visual so that we recall Him?   Is communion a blood soaked string attached to our finger?  Something that we can untie and discard once we are done remembering?  That string on your finger is not a part of you.  It is detachable.  You don't consume it; it remains under your control; it is separate.  You can keep that string away from you. It can be an arm's length away, you can toss it in the trashcan never to be seen again, leave it on the ball of string and forget about it, toss it in your toolbox.

The Lord's Supper is consumed.  It becomes part of you.  The body and blood of our Lord Jesus becomes a part of YOU in communion.  You are co-united with Jesus.  Jesus is present and He comes to you in a way you cannot discard, keep separate, remove, or leave untouched.  Is Communion a remembrance?  Yes!  Is Communion more than a remembrance?  Yes!  It is Christ's body and blood, a new testament, given for you!

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took break, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said:  "Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you.  This do in remembrance of Me."

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying:  "Drink of it,, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Opposites Don't Attract

There are two kinds of righteousness that are spoken of in the Bible.  Both of these forms of righteousness belong to God.  They are as far as east is from west, for us.

Righteousness that comes from the law is true and just.  We try to make that righteousness our own by controlling our behavior.  When we think we are successful at gaining this righteousness, we become prideful.    We neglect to notice that we have not controlled our sin.  Even Christians try to make themselves acceptable to God by being "good".  We can feed all the homeless in our town, we can give away all our money; but there are homeless in the county, and there is always more money needed somewhere (so, get back to work and earn more!). We try to do God a solid, so He will do us a solid.  We want God to be indebted to us.  Ridiculous, isn't it?  This form of righteousness that comes from the law of God belongs to God alone; we cannot earn it no matter how hard we try.

There is another form of righteousness that belongs to believers in Jesus.  It is pure gift and unmerited.  There is nothing we can do to earn this righteousness.  NO-THING.  How is this form of God's righteousness obtained?  By hearing someone proclaim to us the news.  That's right, it comes from the mouth of another person, who is giving you this news.  What news?  That your sins are forgiven because of Jesus and His work on the cross.  Your old is dead, drowned, baptized; your new is here, believing, trusting, free in Christ's righteousness.

These are the two words that are contained in scripture:  Law and Gospel.  They are keys to unlocking and freeing your own bible reading.