"In His majesty [I write] victoriously for the cause of truth...for the Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary." ~ Isaiah 50:4 (ESV)
After all, we can remember the cross cognitively, but still miss the heart of communion (see 1 Cor. 11:26-28). We can memorize John 15:13 ("Greater love has no one than this...that someone lay down his life for his friends."), discuss topics like about salvation & repentance, but still leave church service without a desire to truly change (which we'll define, in this context, as a burn to be more like Christ & living a life of truth...not just a desire to stop sinning).
Point is: Jesus wants our "remembering" to inspire change within us.
And when we study the Word, especially the early church in Acts, we find communion to be a powerful symbolic expression of worship bringing spiritual truth to life in concrete ways and shaping the identities of early believers as a redeemed people.
Thus, it's worth taking a closer look at what communion is and how it can help us in our walk with God today.
When we look at the biblical concept of remembrance, we find it to be a call to worship & a call to action.
And when we drill down on the opening chapters of Acts, we find the church embracing both of these calls.
With the call to worship, the early church responded by commemorating the freedom that was theirs. In other words, they not only reflected, but celebrated Christ's ultimate sacrifice. Within their celebration was a shared joy in self-examination (1 Cor. 11:28), reconciling relationships, and the actual partaking of communion together (Acts 2). For they knew communion was more than simply a 'taking of the elements', but an intimate response to unconditional love. In turn, this helped prevent communion from becoming a religious motion.
With the call to action, the early church responded by knowing and living out Jesus's intent for communion. For they knew if Christ deemed something worth remembering, then it was meant to be employed as a repetitive practice. And since early Christians considered communion to be the external expression of a daily internal relationship, it was able to become something far more real than a symbol or tradition.
If we think about it, communion has some things in common with the Fourth of July.
With respect to our independence, we don't just say, 'Yeah, we're free.' No! We find people all over the country given free time to commemorate the freedom that is theirs! Businesses close, families come together and communities gather for feasts and fireworks...all for the sake of celebrating freedom and making gratitude an evident expression.
When we consider the early church, we find them doing just that! They remembered the price that was paid (past reflection), understood the freedom that was theirs (present action)...and out of it, were compelled to shape how they lived their lives* (future hope).
So essentially what we see happening at the end of Acts 2 is a committed church understanding the power of communion (a sincere hunger & commitment for change) and community together. As a result, they were able to experience God's life as the life connecting them.
Bottom line: Remembrance is more than a mental exercise, but a recognition of God's involvement in our past, present & future. When we fix our eyes on the prize (Hebrews 12:2 & Phil. 3:14), we'll find it leading not only to passionate worship, but appropriate action, greater trust in His promises and better understanding of His word and will.
*In other words, communion helped the early church maintain a lifestyle of repentance
Well, folks. We’re one week past the autumnal equinox…and I think we all know what that means…
…break out the fall décor, have
yourself a very merry pumpkin-space
latte, and check Cameron’s blog for yet another preliminary winter weather
Now, I’m not gonna lie: my forecastlast
year busted badly due, in part, to a screaming Pacific jet and lingering 2015-16
Super El Niño side effects. If
you recall, outside of a few days in January and March, we absolutely
blowtorched from December 23 through the end of March with top 5 positive temp
anomalies for the stretch.
Just look at how nasty these CF6's look...
While it’s hard to imagine a worse winter this season, given the nature of
winters since 2011, it’s only fair to wonder what to expect in the months
ahead, specifically between Thanksgiving and the start of spring 2018.
Thus, as I always do this wonderful time of year, I present you my preliminary
teleconnection grades for the winter ahead...
Back when I was a young padawan studying the Word, I had a bad habit of downplaying geography and time as filler. I figured by skimming over environmental details, I'd better discern the “heart” of the passage without being distracted by peripherals.
However, as I would ultimately find, when we consider what the Scriptures has to say about Christ's ministry, we find every word, pronoun and article carrying strategic purpose and placement. Take John 4 for example, where we find Christ intentionally reaching out to a woman at a well. Before the encounter takes place, we’re given comprehensive context with respect to setting, which connects back to John 3: John 3:22-23 (ESV) – “After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing.John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized.” Now, let’s flash-forward to John 4:1-6:
I’m just goin’ cut to the chase… I don’t give a flying fart1 about “Fifty Shades of Grey”. There I said it. Hope I didn’t offend2… In all seriousness… there’s a lot of talk goin’ on about the
erotic romance novel and drama porn film. But I suppose this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all,
talking about purity and pornography should be encouraged in a time where sexual
compromise is at an all-time high. Granted, it’s heartbreaking to come back to these issues
only to find more people wearing blinders3 covering their
sensitivity to graphic eroticism and relational abuse. But I mean…think about it. Just because culture glorifies the
fetish doesn’t mean my opinion belief in awe-fully4, amazing
sex, as God intended, is invalid. Sure, I may be “old school” in the eyes of some, but at the
end of the day, for something to be good, it also has to be right, just, pure, and
honorable (Philippians 4:8). And I’m sorry, but I’m not going to naively waste my breath
claiming “Fifty Shades of Grey” is …