Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This is the body of Christ . . .

My friend, Jamie Wetzel, is the Administrative Minister at Meridian Christian Church. A week ago tonight I joined with he and several others from his church for an "Election Day Communion" service. It was an inspiring way to end the evening. Jamie's words so so exceptionally well crafted. They may be the finest "communion devotions" I have ever heard. With his permission, I share them with the readers of Frankly Speaking.

One of the main functions of this practice of Communion is to remind us of things that we have a tendency to forget. As we approach the table, it draws us back to the truths that we need to hold onto. So tonight, it is valuable to recall what we are doing as we gather around the table. 

We gather around the table: 
  1. To remember the life that Jesus modeled for us and called us to. There’s a number of reasons why we get so tired of the election season, but one reason is because it has a tendency to turn otherwise nice people into raging hate-mongers. The sad thing is, followers of Jesus often fall into this trap as well. The reality is, we need a constant reminder that no matter the situation, we are to embody the same attitude as Christ. When we approach the table of the Lord, we see bread and juice and we are reminded of the life he modeled: a love for enemies, care for the broken and forgotten, denial of self, sacrificial humility instead of grasping for power. Communion then, reminds us of how we are to live in this world. 
  2. To remember that the power of God is the hope of the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype during election season that a candidate, or an administration, or a country is the only hope for this world. So much so, that it’s implied if we go with “the other guys” then there will only come gloom and despair. We come to the table to remind ourselves of the truth, that only the power of God gives sight to the blind; only the power of God hears every cry of the oppressed; only the power of God made a spectacle of the powers and authorities at the cross; only the power of God raised Jesus from the dead; and ONLY the power of God can bring hope to this world. Communion reminds us that our hope is found in Jesus through the power of God. 
  3. To remember our sin and the need to repent. We need the table to jar us back to the sobering reality that our sin has separated us from God, that it is real, and that it is serious. Communion places in our hands, for us to hold, and touch and eat, the tangible reminder that our sin deserves punishment. We are reminded that Jesus took that punishment upon himself, and allowed his body to be broken, and blood to be spilled from his body. We need the table to drive us back to repentance, over and over and over. And so we gather together so that we will never forget our sin. 
  4. To remember that God’s grace is available to all. At the table, we are reminded that God does not show favoritism. We are reminded that God’s grace does not discriminate nor divide. The political parties tell us that if we are a woman we will align with them, or if we are a man, we will join them, but the table reminds us that male and female are welcome. The political parties tell us that the other guys are rich and greedy or poor and lazy, but the table calls out to the rich and the poor, “come.” The grace of God is open to all and shatters international boundaries, gender lines, social divisions, and political affiliations. Communion reminds us that we are not to deny to some what God has openly offered to all. 
  5. To re-pledge our allegiance to Jesus. One of the things that bugs me about politics is that we are forced to choose between imperfect candidates. In order to choose a candidate that supports the issues we are passionate about, we have to compromise on the ones they support that we are uncomfortable with. Family values, social issues, economic strategies, and foreign policies are often all over the spectrum, and we have to vote using labels such as “the lesser of two evils.” 
What would it look like for a candidate who “remains faithful forever, upholds the cause of the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down, who loves the righteous, watches over the alien, sustains the fatherless and the widow, and frustrates the ways of the wicked”? 

How great would it be to put our trust in one who does all that he promises, and will reign in justice and righteousness, mercy and love? 

That candidate exists, and he’s already won the campaign, and his name is Jesus. There is no competition, there is no challenger, there is no recount. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We come tonight to re-pledge our allegiance to him and him alone.

1 comment:

pearl1978wagner said...

Wow!!!! Thank u for posting that!! Totally powerful!! Hello Pastor Frank my name is Desirae and myself and my 4 sons will be attending your church on Sunday!! You have won me over with your beliefs and core values!! I lok forward to seeing these in action!! See u Sunday be blessed!!