Summary: A Sermon on Communion
A Chiclet and a Thimble
You know, I don’t feel old. In fact, I consider myself to be quite young. But you really start to feel your age when some of the things and events you grew up with start showing up on the history channel. When I went back to college at 38, I took a few history courses and I had a distinct advantage over some of the 18 and 19 year old students because all they could do was read about the events of the 60s, 70s and 80s, but I lived through many of them. Maybe that’s why many of the other students wanted to study with me. Sometime around my 40th birthday, my sister in law sent me an e-mail that many of you may have seen regarding those who entered college in 2003 and will, hopefully, graduate next May. I received a similar e-mail before. I think it comes out every year just to remind us how old we’re getting. The message relays many of the things the class of 2007 could not remember or relate to because of their age. Here are a few of them:
-They were 6 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.
-Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
-Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
-They have no idea what a cloth baby diaper is.
-They may have never heard of an 8 track.
-They have always had an answering machine.
-There have always been VCRs but they have probably never heard of Beta
-Most have never a black and white TV.
-They have always had cable.
For the class of 2007
-Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
-Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
-They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were ever cool.
-They have no idea who J.R. was and do not care who shot him.
-To them, Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not bands...
-There has always been MTV.
This list may make a lot of us remember the past but it’s not the fault of the class of 2007 that they don’t know about these things. They weren’t around to experience them. But, they can read about these things; learn about them; try to understand what they mean. We were not around when Jesus gave us the Lord’s Supper but we can read about it; learn about it; try to understand what it means.
For many of us here today, we gather every week at the Lord’s Table to remember. We might remember the last few hours of freedom that Jesus had on this earth. We might remember a King who washed the feet of the people. We remember Jesus, who died in our place and who washes not just his disciple’s feet, but also their souls. Their feet he washed with water and a towel. Our souls took a lot more. To wash away our sins required his body and blood.
We remember that, after that Passover meal, there was a prayer; a prayer of fear; a prayer of agony. A prayer prayed so passionately that blood dripped from the forehead of our Lord. A prayer that took place while those who were supposed to be the most loyal to him, the ones who loved him the most, were sleeping. We remember a prayer that turned everything over to the will of God.
We remember that, after the prayer, there was a betrayal; a betrayal that had its origin when Jesus first chose this particular disciple to be one of the twelve. His feet, feet Jesus himself had washed, would carry Judas to the chief priests to betray the Messiah to betray his friend. We remember a betrayal that was sealed with a kiss when we all know that’s not what a kiss is for. We remember a betrayal that caused so much guilt and anguish that the betrayer thought that the only way to relieve himself of his inner turmoil was to hang himself.
And, after the betrayal, we remember Jesus being led off by the soldiers to face the accusations of the high priests; to face the indifference of the Romans; to face the whip; to face the cross; to face his death.
But, what I want us all to remember at this particular moment is a simple meal; a meal shared with those who Jesus loved. We remember the gift of a meal given to us by our Lord and Savior. But, why a meal? Why do we take a little piece of bread and a tiny sip of wine?
It is very likely that the early disciples took more than just a pinch of bread and a teaspoon of the wine when Jesus first handed them the elements and Jesus never specified the volume of bread and drink to take in this meal. Today, we receive the Lord’s Supper in small portions of bread and cup, but it is not the amount that we focus on, it’s the meaning behind the elements. The meaning behind these elements is probably different for each person here but, please indulge me as I tell you what they mean to me.