Summary: A sermon for World Communion Sunday.
"When Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
We had a really neat experience last Tuesday at East Ridge Cares 4 Kids.
On the van ride from the Superior Creek Lodge to the church, one child (Landon) asked me what it means when we eat bread and drink juice during worship.
As I was driving, I started to explain it, and then a light bulb went off in my head...
...that's what we can talk about during our Bible-study time this afternoon.
We even went on to celebrate Holy Communion together.
And the kids were terrific!!!
They listened, they understood, they took it seriously, they were excited.
Remember, in the Gospels when little children were being brought to Jesus, in order for Jesus to put His hands on them and bless them?
What did Jesus' disciples try to do?
What did they say to the ones who brought them?
They "rebuked" them, didn't they?
What was Jesus' response to this?
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Holy Communion is something that has been so misunderstood throughout the ages.
None of us completely understand it, but there have been so many restrictions put on it...
...so much human-dogma attached to it, that for some, it has almost become a burden--when in reality it is a gift--it is all about grace!!!
Think about how we, as humans, first experience love.
We first experience love, very soon after we are born, and still in the hospital...
...when our mother puts us to her breast and feeds us.
And since we are just babes, we don't understand the full implications of what is going on or why it is happening...
...what we do understand is that we are loved.
And love is what nourishes us, heals us, and makes us whole.
Without love we are completely lost.
And in the Lord's Supper we are declaring and God is declaring that we are loved--we are not lost after-all--we have been found!!!
A clergy colleague wrote the following:
"A young friend called me to say she'd admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital.
While she was there, I visited her when I could.
On one occasion I asked her if she'd like for me to bring Communion to her.
She said she would and asked if some of the other people at the hospital could join us."
She continues to write, "On that spring afternoon, five or six of us gathered in her room and shared the sacred meal.
I think it was the most meaningful Communion service I ever shared--half a dozen strangers, each scarred by heartache, sitting helpless in a locked ward.
Yet Jesus was there because we were there as His beloved.
He was not only among us, but He was within us.
Even as broken people, we were one with each other.
We were strengthened by His presence; we were healed, in a way.
We were nourished, washed, and rejuvenated all because we had Communion."
On the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested, He celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples.
This was a meal that had been going on for thousands of years.
To this day, when Jewish families all over the world celebrate Passover, there is special food and drink, and there are particular words that are said; the same words that were said in Jesus' day.
The words tell the story of how God's people, Israel, came out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, leaving behind their slavery and going on to freedom in the promised land.
The food and drink are carefully chosen to symbolize and express aspects of the Exodus.
For instance, there are different cups of wine symbolizing different things about the Exodus story.
One of the cups, the cup which comes directly after the meal symbolizes the blood of the sacrificed lambs which when put on the doorframes of the peoples' homes was a sign for the angel of death to "Passover" the people--it was the sign of salvation.
This is the cup Jesus raised and said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me."
In the Passover feast, the head of the household says the words, introducing the different parts of the meal.
So, at the last Supper, Jesus, of course, took on the role as the Head of the Household.
But on this Passover, Jesus explained that the meaning of the Passover meal was about to change.
Can you imagine the shock of the disciples as they realized that Jesus had departed from the normal script and was talking about Himself?
"My body, my very self...here it is!!!"
"My blood, my life, my death, all for you, all so that your sins can be forgiven...here it is!!!"