Summary: Communion message based on Ray Vander Laan’s description of the acceptance of the "bride price" by the prospective bride.
Accepting the Cup
February 11, 2007
This last week Debra and I were at our annual Pastors Retreat in Rapid City with the other pastors of our district.
It’s always a great time of refreshment and fellowship, not to mention listening to some great teaching from guest speakers and such.
But one of the highlights for me this year was the last night. At the last service, we always share in communion as a group. And this year, instead of just being seating in rows in the meeting room, we were set at tables of six people.
And communion was served as a very personal sacrament – each table being led by one person, who was free to administer this sacrament as they felt led.
Our table leader was Rev. Dwight Peterson from Sturgis, and he described something to us about communion that I had heard before, but never really internalized before.
And it brought a new wonder to me regarding this beautiful sacrament we call the Lord’s Supper.
I grew up Catholic, as most of you know. And in about the second grade you get prepared for your First Communion. That time from which point you can partake in communion.
And as we learned about communion and why we did it, I found myself with a combination of things like awe, a pride at being old enough to participate, and a wonder at the mystery of that wafer and the wine somehow becoming the actual flesh and blood of Jesus (which we don’t believe and teach in the Wesleyan Church), although in second grade, there wasn’t a whole lot of real understanding about the whole deal.
If nothing else, I had achieved a certain level of “maturity” in the faith. Again, as much “maturity” as a second grader can have…
But after a number of years I began to understand communion more as something necessary to get into heaven, and the awe and wonder were lost in the realm of simply trying to cover my bases in case I were to die that week.
I wonder if there are others who may have lost some of the wonder of the Lord’s Supper.
It can happen for any number of reasons. We don’t do it enough. We do it too often. We use manufactured wafers instead of real unleavened bread.
It could be that for you it’s nothing more than just another religious ritual and you’ve come to the point where it’s meaningless and empty.
For some it may be that in the past, the Lord’s Supper was offered in a way that came across as irreverent. Or it was offered in a way you weren’t used to.
Or maybe it was offered the same way every time and it lost any sense of uniqueness. You could quote the whole ceremony verbatim.
My hope today is to see if I can’t offer one more perspective on the Lord’s Supper. And I really hope that this will be a time when you can partake in communion with a new sense of wonder.
And not just to get some sort of spiritual “tingle,” but rather to allow you to appreciate the sacrifice that we remember as we take the elements.
Today I want to share with you some of what Pastor Dwight shared with us last week. And I hope that it will be life-changing for every one in here.
God’s Word, of course, is the source of our knowledge of how Jesus instituted this holy sacrament, so I’d invite you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 26:17-29 (p._____ in the Bibles in the seats.
17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
18 He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ’The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’" 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."
22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?"
23 Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?"