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Sunday, March 08, 2009

On Communion

Have you ever really given much thought to the Christian tradition or sacrament of communion? I suspect that many of us have not.

I've participated in communion at several different churches through the years. Most often I found it to be rather unremarkable. In other words, the way in which it was offered seemed to treat it as rather routine. This seems to miss the mark in several ways.

Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me." What exactly do you suppose He wants us to remember? Our sinfulness? His sacrifice? The new covenant He ushered in? God's faithfulness? Grace? His coming return? It merits more consideration that most people who identify themselves as Christians are used to giving it.

Do what in remembrance of Him? Gulp down a swig of juice and wolf down a tiny biscuit as part of your busy routine? I can spend more time taking my morning vitamins than a typical communion in church! Is that how we're supposed to do it? I suspect not.

Then there is the remembrance part. Remember what, exactly? How should we remember it? Remembrance of Jesus suggests - even demands - more than just a fleeting thought of Him. "Oh yeah, this is about Jesus, you know; and all that." Don't you imagine that we shoudl really be going much deeper than that?

Remembering Jesus is important. It's huge, really. How can anyone truly do it justice? Quite honestly, I'm not sure that my sin nature is capable of fully remembering Jesus. There are just too many competing thoughts and memories in me. At the same time, Jesus is so much bigger than my conscious thinking seems to be able to handle. Yet it is what He said. Remember me.

I'm sobered by the reality of remembering Jesus. He gave us a call to unity ... with Himself. How can we respond to that call in our human brokenness? And yet, if He called me to it, then I'm sure I can do it. So where do I start. Well, I think there are a few key things we could do a better job of.

1. Revere the communion ceremony as sacred and holy. Indeed, it is a call to holiness and righteousness. Let's give this more than a slot on our schedule. Shouldn't it be the pinnacle of our worship experience?

2. Let's instill a sense of awe in the Lord's Supper. Imagine if you were one of the few, in the Upper Room that night. He's led you. He's taught you. He's washed your feet. He's announced His plans to die for you. And now He calls you to celebrate your unity with Him. What could be more amazing?

3. Take time for self-examination. Of course none of us is qualified to participate in the Lord's Supper. (After all, we are sinners in desperate need of a Savior!). But we should examine ourselves to determine whether or not we have unconfessed sins - and confess them. We should examine ourselves to see whether or not we have unreconciled relationships - and reconcile them. In these ways, we can render ourselves holy and righteous before Him. Quite frankly, such acts are an enormous part of remembering Jesus!

4. We need to stop seeing communion in the same filter that we see tithing or worship. It is not even close to being on par with such traditions. Jesus stepped into history and re-wrote the story of mankind. If He hadn't, there would be little reason for hope in this world. Doing this in remembrance of Him could quite possibly be the most important thing any Christian can do.

Communion, the Lord's Supper or whatever you want to call it is a solemn occasion, a righteous celebration and a great privilege. Let us learn what doing it means. Let us learn how big this is and how big remembering Him really is!

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