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“O Goodie! It’s Time For Refreshments!”

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. … (John 6:53-58)

This week we will celebration Holy Communion at the Patterson Avenue Baptist Church.  I like the term “Holy Communion” better than the Baptist standard phrase: “The Lord’s Supper.”  The latter makes the observance seem like a memorial, a tribute, a recognition of something Jesus did a long time ago.  The former phrase – “Holy Communion” – makes the whole deal seem more immediate.  It makes it seem (to me, anyways) that I am connected right now to what happened some 2000 years ago at Golgotha and from the empty tomb.

 I think that’s important, because here, lately, I’ve needed to be reminded of that connection.

In seminary I served a little country church in rural Indiana.  On the first Sunday of each month, we celebrated the Communion meal.  As the adults were being served in the sanctuary, one elder took a tray with the bread and cup to a downstairs basement where the children were gathered.  As the door open and the Elder began to descend the steps, one of the children screamed, “Oh goodies, it’s time for refreshments.”

When we heard the child, we all smiled.  But as the service continued, I could see something happening on the faces of the adults.  We began to realize that this moment of worship could become for us exactly what that child imagined.  This could be a moment of reminder – no, make that encounter – with the refreshing blessings of Almighty God’s amazing grace.

 I am praying that this Sunday will be that kind of moment for people in my current parish. 

How about you?  What’s going on in your life?  Are you feeling exhausted and needy of rejuvenation?  Do you feel drained and in need of invigoration? Perhaps haggard and in the hopes of being energized?  Or tired and in search of revitalization?  Is this one of those times when you find yourself looking for a source of refreshment? 

 There sure is a lot of stuff to wear us down!

 Gas prices are on the rise.  Unemployment remains unacceptably high.  The images that come to us from Egypt are frightening and uncertain.  If all that’s not enough, the Steelers are playing in the Superbowl and will probably win.  There are a lot of things going on that can wear us down and make us feel tired.

Too often we get caught up in the nets of what only wants to drag us down.  We find ourselves living with a sense of malaise – feelings of uneasiness, despondency, despair, degression.  We want some refreshment.

That’s why I like the word “communion” instead of simply “The Lord’s Supper.”  A memorial or a tribute it nice – but I want to experience something.  No, strike that!  I want to experience Someone.  I want to be refreshed by the truth that what happened all those years ago at the cross and in the garden served as an atonement for my sins (read atonement as “at-one-ment” with God).  In Christ, I am at fellowship with God the Father, through the Holy Spirit.  I am a part of the perchoresis (the Divine Dance).  This means that “Jesus is my life” and refreshment is mine, already.

 James Torrance teaches that at the table…

“…we do not merely remember the passion of our Lord as an isolated date from nineteen hundred years ago.  Rather, we remember it in such a way that we know by the grace of God we are the people for whom the Savior died and rose again, we are the people whose sins Jesus confessed on the cross, we are the people with whom God has made a new convenant in the blood of Christ, we are the Israel of God, to whom God has said “I will be your God and you shall be my people.”  We, today, are the people whose sorrows and cries Jesus bears on his kingly heart as he intercedes for us…We are what we are today by the grace of God, because of what God did for us then.”

 When I read those words from James Torrance, and the scriptures about the observance of “Holy Communion,” there is only one thought coming to my mind right now.

 “Oh, goodie.  It’s time for refreshment!”

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