I, by myself, am not a person¹
Living here and not yet. Communion acts in opposition to individualism. For a Christian the idea that religion and spirituality are private matters, is as biblically illiterate as the goalie presuming she does not need her team. You need all the saints and they need you. That desire for perfectness is sifted out by being with others. When you see the bigger picture, you notice how small your selfie really is. You cannot truly participate unless you have a full team. Do you see the opposition to individualism when communion is taken as a family?
The Christian life is complex.
It is yearning for a return to flourishing Eden while sitting in traffics exhaust, honking along with radio songs.
Families are the building blocks of civilization. A family eats together. A family feud is a house divided.
Family dinners are cherished in afterthought and to often begin with dragging feet. Am I able to partake in his bread? Am I able to partake in his cup? Am I ready to commun in this sacred feast? Have I examined my ways to see if they are aligned with his? Have I forgotten that in reflection Paul said,
when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized²
We join together as the body of Christ, but shy away from discipline. Even the word makes us fray. A loving treatment calls for the patient to receive the correct warnings. Saving souls is what Christ does. How will the sick be properly treated if they do not know the difference between Vitamins and Hospice Care? How blue are your feet?
And this feast,
it is done in rememberrence. In remembrance of who? I tell you this; it is neither me nor you. In remembrance of Christ! For in no other death do we proclaim, but that of our Lord Christ Jesus. For the bell of death did he ring.
Am I ready to commun in eating his bread whether morning or mid-week? Oh, how difficult it is to focus when once does grace make you weep. Does the way it’s baked determine my motivation to be my Master’s handiwork? Do I seek forgiveness as often as I take of it? Do I recognize my need, my lack, my striving after wind without Christ as my aim? How far to the right did my cars spedomintor wave as I hit the snooze button just once more? Planning and plotting for how to quickly get out the door.
We sing about how wonderful are the feet that bring good news. An announcement, an exhortation to lift weary heads forgiving their arrogant treason.
I’m learning just how much I need my community because I don’t properly exist apart from me.
And the heart; the Christian’s spring of blessings or curses, flowing over all the day long. Right or wrong I’m learning just how complicated the life of a Christian is. In my own flesh, I hate what I do and yet I trek forward past the pews. Grace was never mine to choose. If it were up to me, I would still be honking my horn against all humanity.
Well maybe not all.
Just the ones I don’t like.
I mean get along with.
I mean vibe with.
I mean understand their stars and stripes.
Surely those other people are not as interesting as myself. I spend hours lounging in mental spas seeking pleasure and comfort from the realities of the world like the Wizard of Oz. The world is at war, yet I sit, twiddling my thumbs on a touch screen. What a waste of life. Some live for more, some live to snore. Look: curtain call is perpetually sooner for all.
So when I act out selfishly, in pride, in my sinful hide, I act out toward my own ill. I need other believers. I need the whole body of Christ from the nose to the toes; to think otherwise is to impose my wisdom on the God who answered Job in a whirlwind.
“Where were you?”
And prayer, dear Christian, our neglected voice. Speaking like a mouse before the Lion yet he listens to my voice? And Earth; crying out in childbearing pain for the return of it’s King to once again hold all the reigns. How does God allow these tragedies in light of the hopeful songs we sing with Christmas glee?
I’m learning to be on God’s mission to bless all people. I’m learning that being about God’s mission is more apart of his upheld covenant promise with his people than it is on my ability. I’m learning to view life in eternity. All the saints and believers before me, who paved a path through sincerity, because they saw their role impacting every ethnic group from West County to the Delmar Loop.
The Christian life is more complex than Evangelicalism. The Christian life is filled with grey: “Through a glass darkly.” For my brothers and sisters in Christ, once you stop learning,
once you cease to evolve in your loving,
once you get cozy,
once you think you know every answer,
once you think the baptism and prayer you had when you were 7 was your “get out of hell” card,
it is then that you become a fool.
The Christian life is complex. The same passage that says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,” also says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Now I hope you see, there is so much more to this. Wrestling is how you get through the process. Wrestle through life until we get blessed.
While not all people who deceive do so maliciously, some do. And with pride as the root of all sin, it is not a difficult task. I just hope the next time someone tries to sell you credit card insurance, you already have life insurance.
Your time here is short. It is valuable. Do not think we are all on the same path. Do not presume it all works out in your favor in the end. The curtain call perpetually draws near.
Unity without truth, is like Boaz without Ruth³
Stay humble my friends. Try dipping the bread in the wine next time you remember.
It’s an Italian* tradition: Intinction
My heart has been changed, rebuked, guided, and exhorted by the provoking Dove of above. The Christian life; how did I ever view it so simply?
¹Dr. Michael D. Williams is professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary
²1 Corinthians 11:18-19 ESV
³Random Thoughts 3 by Shai Linne
*Or so once a pastor friend of mine once told me. But he said it more like, “That’s how Italians do Communion.”
I like this one- the stream of consciousness, and how easily I can lose sight of how complex it all is. A great call and reminder out of my comfortability.