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"Leslie Weatherhead tells of a little boy who was admitted to an orphanage after his parents were killed. One of the first items on the agenda was to find him a new set of clothes. He was given a new pair of pants, a new shirt, and a pair of shoes that shinned as he saw his face in its glow.
Lastly, he was offered a new hat. But he refused to take it. He hung on to his worse- for the-wear—hat. Finally the Sister was able to coax him into trying on the new cap. He tried it on, liked it, but then did something very funny. He reached inside his old cap and tore the lining out and placed it in his pocket.
Noticing the Sister had a puzzled look on her face, he said said, "The lining is a part of my mother’s dress; it’s all I’ve got left of her and somehow it seems to bring her back."
If you give a street drunk a bottle of expensive alcohol, he will appreciate it the same as he would a cheap bottle of booze. Why? He does not know what he has. Likewise, whoever eats and drinks the Lord’s Supper in ignorance, fails to enjoy the true richness of what she is consuming!
COMMUNION IN YOUR ‘CIVVIES’
Janet Daley writes in the UK Telegraph about a “movement among Church of England clergy in favour of going into civvies.” One of the things that the Church of England Synod is debating is the agitation some are having for dress-down Sundays, which would allow the vicar to take Communion in his shirt sleeves.
Doing away with ‘intimidating’ vestments the church hopes will be part of an accessibility outreach campaign in which priests could look more like ordinary people. Like schoolteachers who wear jeans instead of suits in the classroom, they want to demystify their own authority - to, as they say, ‘break down barriers’.
Almost 2000 years ago, another campaign to identify with common man—“to break down barriers”-- began.
“…Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
SOURCE: SermonCentral Staff. Citation: Janet Daley, “In tragedy and in joy, an unchanged church is best.” 10/07/2002. http://www.opinion.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/ opinion/2002/07/10/do1002.xml
Several years ago in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, George and Vera Bajenksi’s lives were changed forever. February 16, 1989. A very normal Thursday morning. The phone rang at 9:15 a.m. "There’s been an accident..." It involved their son Ben.
As they approached the intersection of Adelaide and Simcoe Streets near the high school, they could see the flashing lights of the police cars and ambulance units. Vera noticed a photographer and followed the direction of his camera lens to the largest pool of blood she had ever seen.
All she could say was, "George, Ben went home--home to be with his Heavenly Father!" Her first reaction was to jump out of the car, somehow collect the blood and put it back into her son. "That blood, for me, at that moment, became the most precious thing in the world because it was life. It was life-giving blood and it belonged in my son, my only son, the one I loved so much."
The road was dirty and the blood just didn’t belong there. George noticed that cars were driving right through the intersection--right through the blood. His heart was smitten. He wanted to cover the blood with his coat and cry, "You will not drive over the blood of my son!"
Then Vera understood for the first time in her life, one of God’s greatest and most beautiful truths...why blood? Because it was the strongest language God could have used. It was the most precious thing He could give-- the highest price H...
SIMPLE CONFESSION, PROFOUND FORGIVENESS
In 1818 one out of six women who had children died of something called "childbirth fever." A doctor’s daily routine back then started in the dissecting room, where he performed autopsies, and from there he made his rounds to examine expectant mothers. No one even thought to wash his hands...at least not until a doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis began to practice strict hand washing. He was the very first doctor to associate a lack of hand washing with the huge fatality rate. Dr. Semmelweis only lost one in fifty, yet his colleagues laughed at him. Once he said, "Childbirth fever is caused by decomposed material conveyed to a wound...I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proven all that I’ve said. But while we talk, talk, talk, women are dying.. I’m not asking for anything world shaking, only that you wash your hands." Yet virtually no one believed him.
And Jesus is not asking anything earth shaking from us. John writes, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We only need to confess our sins, to regularly wash our souls before God. It’s essential. The failure to confess our sins will result in spiritual infection that will hinder our ability in the spiritual journey.
SOURCE: Timothy Peck. Citation: I John 1:9. http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/
An article in a National Geographic magazine provides a penetrating picture of God’s love for us. After a forest fire raged through a section of Yellowstone Park, one of the rangers found the charred body of a bird at the base of a smoking tree stump. When he knocked it with a stick, three tiny little birds scurried from under their dead mother’s wings. The remains of a half burnt nest nearby told the rest of the story. When the raging flames spread up the tree, the half burnt nest fell to the ground and the mother lit near it so her young birds could find protection under her wings. As the flames flared around her, she gave her life that her babies might live.
Can you all see what I have in my hand? A receipt. And what purpose does a receipt serve? It is the proof that the payment has been made. That’s what Jesus’ resurrection is. The receipt. The proof that the payment is made, that death and sin no longer have power over us.
THE PERFECT MATCH- COMMUNION MEDITATION
From Daily Encounter comes this story by a Chaplain Robinson:
“In 1949, my father had just returned from the war. On every highway you could see soldiers in uniform hitchhiking home to their families. The thrill of the reunion with his family was soon overshadowed by my grandmother’s illness. There was a problem with her kidneys. The doctors told my father that she needed a blood transfusion immediately or she would not live through the night.
Grandmother’s blood type was AB negative, a very rare type. In those days there were no blood banks like there are today. No one in the family had that type blood and the hospital had not been able to find anyone with that rare type. The Doctor gave our family little hope. My Dad decided to head home for a little while to change clothes and then return for the inevitable good-byes.
As my father was driving home he passed a soldier in uniform hitchhiking. Deep in grief, my father was not going to stop. But something compelled him to pull over. The soldier climbed in but my father never spoke. He just continued driving down the road toward home. The soldier could tell my father was upset as a tear ran down his cheek.
The soldier asked about the tear. My father began telling the stranger that his mother was going to die because the hospital couldn’t find anyone who could donate AB negative blood. My father explained that he was just heading home to change clothes. That is when he noticed the soldier’s open hand holding dog tags that read AB negative. The soldier told my father to turn the car around and head back to the hospital.
My grandmother lived until 1996, 47 more years. To this day my family doesn’t know the name of that sol...
It was related that once when the Duke of Wellington remained to take communion at his parish church, a very poor old man went up to the opposite aisle, and reaching the Communion table, knelt down close by the side of the Duke. (Immediately, tension and commotion interrupted the silence of the church.) Someone came and touched the poor man on the shoulder, and whispered to him to move farther away, or to rise and wait until the Duke had received the bread and the wine.
But the eagle eye and the quick ear of the great commander caught the meaning of that touch and that whisper. He clasped the old man’s hand and held him to prevent his rising; and in a reverential but distinct undertone, the Duke said, "Do not move; we are equal here." (Pulpit Helps 3/91)
During the war in Vietnam, a young West Point graduate was sent over to lead a group of new recruits into battle. He did his job well, trying his best to keep his from ambush and death. But one night when they had been under attack, he was unable to get just one of his men to safety.
The soldier left behind had been severely wounded. From their trenches, the young lieutenant and his men could hear him in his pain. They all knew any attempt to save him – even if it was successful -- would almost certainly mean death for the would-be rescuer.
Eventually the young lieutenant crawled out of hiding toward the dying man. He got to him safely but was killed before he could save himself.
After the rescued man returned to the States, the lieutenant’s parents heard that he was in their vicinity. Wanting to know this young man whose life was spared at such a great cost to them, they invited him to dinner.
When their honored guest arrived, he was obviously drunk. He was rowdy and obnoxious. He told off-color jokes and showed no gratitude for the sacrifice of the man who died to save him. The grieving parents did the best they could to make the man’s visit worthwhile, but their efforts went unrewarded.
Their guest finally left. As the dad closed the door behind him, the mother collapsed in tears and cried, "To think that our precious son had to die for somebody like that."
That’s what Jesus did.
That’s what it says right in these verses:
Christ died for us while we were still sinners