Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Body of Truth

Here I am again. Once again there has been a lot on my mental plate so I will only include the freshest stuff for your consumption. Hope it satisfies.

The thought that has gathered me the most over the last two weeks has been centered around the bread of communion that we share every so often. At our gathering we do this in remembrance once a month, just like the gathering I grew up in. I guess it is often enough to not forget about it and seldom enough to keep it fresh. Maybe. I remember in the old days when we would actually stay home on communion Sundays for personal reasons, and it wasn't until I got older that I started to take part in these services and started to form some ideas that lasted in some form or another until just this last month.

You see, I carried with me the thought that if you had sinned, or were sinning, you should not take part in the bread and wine. I thought that this is what it meant when it said to eat and drink unworthily in 1 Cor 11:29. There were many times when I even passed on taking the bread and the cup because of this and I secretly felt very noble. I always felt inside , though, that there was something off about the whole thing, something missing or maybe just skewed. A number of years ago the Lord started to show me some stuff about communion that started to lift the mystery away from it. I am not saying that the cloud has lifted completely now, but I do see it a lot more clearly than I used to.

The first thing which God showed me that sustained me through much juice and crackers was the part about discerning the body of the Lord. He showed me that if I were to look at it in context it would make more sense (gotta write that book about fridge magnets!!!). The context is a gathering of people who were tripping over each other at the love feast instead of preferring each other. It is a mental trick to refer to this group of people as the body of Christ and then turn and exclude that notion from the next passage about discerning the body of Christ and make it some deep mystery veiled with peril. There is peril, but it is not so great a mystery as all that. The body of Christ is the person next to you. How are we discerning this? It is very important to our Lord that we treat each other as He said.

Now that revelation carried me few a few years, but it left a nagging residue of that past idea of unworthiness. It seemed that there was more that needed to be erased, but I did not know what or how. Of late the Lord tripped me up with another download. When the crackers were coming around He told me that as Jesus broke the bread He knew the symbolism of what He was doing, He was submitting to the will of the Father and yielding His flesh to be destroyed for us. His next move was to hand the bread to us. He didn't tear off pieces and hand them out one at a time, we have to rip them off ourselves. We have to take responsibility for the sacrifice of Christ for us. We have to partake of His body (John 6:53) and take it in ourselves. We then chew it and swallow it. We destroy and ingest His body as His physical body was destroyed by us and ingested into the earth to be completely consumed. Remember Jesus arose with a resurrected body not a repair of the one that died on the cross. Taking the bread is an act of admission on two counts. We admit to the destruction of Christ's body at our hands and we admit to the necessity of Christ's body to heal and cleanse us. This levels the playing field every time we commune together. This balances the equation between the least and the greatest, the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor and every other class distinction we can devise. We all eat, we all admit, we all rejoice.
So then to eat or drink unworthily is to come with the idea that we have that "clean slate" and therefore we can proceed without peril. It is precisely this thought that stirs the peril. The table of communion is a place of humility and rejoicing, and not one without the other. To show only humility is to only admit the responsibility, to rejoice without humility is to only receive the atonement apart from the admission of responsibility.
I am so thankful to God for His constant work in our lives to continuously draw us together in His Son Jesus Christ. After all the body of Christ is our inheritance.