Since I could not participate in 'communion' as a non-member at the church I regularly attend, I decided to go to the next 'plain' church 45 minutes away, so as not to have to sit around on communion Sunday and get bored. I'd known these 'plain' folks for about two years and we considered each other faithful brothers.
So the following Sunday, as I finishing up conversation and was getting ready to leave late in the afternoon, here came the sales pitch, and it was explained to me that I needed to submit to a church. For Jesus said that, 'if you don't eat of this body and drink of this blood you can have no part in me'. It was explained to me therefore, that, sooner or later I was going to have to submit to a brotherhood or, implicitly, I could have no part in Jesus. It was also suggested to me that I could not be a member of that church if I was not going to be there regularly. And the church I was presently attending was also not acceptable because of their gospel message fell short.
I was not acceptable for membership in the church I was already attending due to my use of musical instruments and some forms of technology such as the Internet. The two churches in question where simply not acceptable to each other. Nor was any other church, to either one of them. To them, in joining any other church than their 'own' respective church, I would be falling away from the true faith.
So what is a poor fellow to do?
So now, I can't have a part in Jesus in any other way than but through the brotherhood? I thought the Reformation had already occured and that it was already widely known that men can't place themselves between God and men?
Do you see my predicament here?
Has anybody read the book "Catch 22"?
Is this really where some men think Christ has left us?
Well of course it's not where He's left us.
I didn't come right out and charge him with trying to be the Pope. I simply saw it as a good opportunity, even a necessity, to go home and plan for the following Sunday a Lord's Supper celebration at my place. By myself. Others optional. Membership in Christ's Body is all that is required. Others are welcome, but not necessary.
The more I thought about it the more I realized I had been asleep on the issue here and that there was a vital and important spiritual exercise I had been passing up.
Oh! The new found joy that I had only before taken for granted. Christ's invitation was actually for even me!
_________________This morning is the Lord's Supper Sunday morning celebration. I dropped my ten year old daughter off at church, fed the animals and came inside.
My bread had come out of the oven about an hour ago. It smelled great and I thanked the Lord for it. A few minutes earlier, on my way in, I started to plan. My immediate inclination was to go to the Gospels for the Lord's instructions and start there. But then I remembered them very well already, and, wasn't I supposed to already know the instructions and actually go on and 'commune' with a memory here? Sure the Body and the Blood, but 'what' was that an invitation to remember?
Weren't those instructions permission to open the floodgate of rich memories about the Man who was... God, revealing Himself to us and calling us to reunite back to Him in His Kingdom? All expenses paid! For free? Not for free!; but for an immense price, which, 'He' has already paid, Himself!, for us? That such a magnificent thing is not free! But [yet], yes, it 'is' already paid for -- by Him. With His Body and His blood. Instead of ours...for us, because we can't pay it, but are allowed to eat of the sacrifice, and drink of His sacrifice, with thanksgiving, as we remember His sacrifice, and the love for us He has that caused Him to 'be' the sacrifice, and consequently be punished and put to death, instead of us. And that, while we would have stayed dead, and deservedly so, He did not, so that, through faith, we would not.
Uh-oh...that is truly difficult to comprehend. But there it was, and there it happened.
But oh...,it's true. Through the witness and subsequent testimony -- and, ohhh...the blessed memory -- of those faithful witnesses who saw it! and testified of it!, -- of God having come down to earth to walk among us -- and the indelible memory they were shown, of God Himself! testifying to us, through them, after which they could not help but to keep telling everyone, and anyone they could get to, of, it!, until their dieing day, and that!, is how we remember!
Oh yes,...I remember now.... And thank you for that reminder...it is a rich memory, and, I am going to cherish the opportunity to abide there in it now. Whew. When - do - we - - - start?
In just about every "communion" I'd ever been a part of, there was usually a sermon, after which were read Jesus' instructions, then we ate, and then drank, and that was about it. There was very little remembering -- if any. At least 'time' given to it. Not any moreso than during your average Sunday service that is. Maybe that winds up to be the difference between, "communion", and the Lord's Supper. It was promoted as 'communion', but there was not so much communing being done. And not even that much "Lord's supper" being done. Maybe it was just me. I will allow, that, it was just me. And, that those days are now over.
So... I remembered....
God..., had come to earth with great news. And this... He did not want me to forget.
My very memory of Him was meaningful to 'Him'; He wanted 'it' there. And so, if it is a meaningful thing to Him, then it is a great blessing for me, to possess... and abide in.
So I let my memory unfold itself. I remembered what He had done in my life. And in my daughter's life. And in my remembering... I was free to laugh, and cry, or to just shout out; and marvel; at will, and, in private.
And I ate...and remembered...and I ate...and I remembered.
Of course the dog had to make an appearance. "Do I throw her the crumbs, or not, I thought?" ...I thought, not.
I went to the Spirit of Christ in me and I just abode there in thought. Not asking. Not telling. Not seeking wisdom. Nor comfort. Just seeking memories from His Word, which God had left us a memory full of, of His having come to His earth; in the flesh; to reveal Himself; to His creation.
Remembering also the promise He had made when He had come. The promise that He would pour out His Spirit on us when He left. And the promise that He would return again, and that, until He came back, His Spirit would dwell here with us, inside of us, until He came back.
Remembering again what He's done in my life. And what He's done in the lives of many people I know.
Remembering what He said about things to come. And remembering what I can do in anticipation of those things.
This thing would not be complete without mentioning that someone from church then showed up. I confess, I had not invited anyone. But they were concerned about me. I was concerned that they might be concerned me... and show up. My memorial celebration came to an abrupt halt much sooner than I had planned. He came primarily because he had been hoping to wash my feet. I appreciated that. We appreciate each other. After a long discussion (unfortunately on something all we Christians can share in common -- that is, misguided denominational doctrine), and, in spite of it, we washed each others feet, broke bread and drank from the cup. I lectured him on coming not to understand the issues that divide us but to simply further his own poorly thought out opinions(to which in all fairness should be added "in my opinion"). I had him thinking anyway. Always make sure your are invited to a Lord's Supper or risk being uncerimoniously 'judged' by the host.
When he left, it was hard to get going again. And it was no longer necessary. There's no need to wallow overly long at one sitting in Christ's memorial. I had had almost an hour in it and that had been sufficient. Subsequently more important is the present and the future. There's now plenty more to do, the more of which, will make my next Lord's Supper equally as rewarding.
He said, "do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me".
I'm going to do this every three or four months.