Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day:
4 “But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne. All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God. 5 But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received. 6 All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. But the LORD made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved. Isaiah 53:4-6 (TEV)
10 The LORD says, “It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness. And so he will see his descendants; he will live a long life, and through him my purpose will succeed. 11 After a life of suffering, he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them. 12 And so I will give him a place of honor, a place among the great and powerful. He willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil men. He took the place of many sinners and prayed that they might be forgiven.” Isaiah 53:10-12 (TEV)
23 For I received from the Lord the teaching that I passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, 24 gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.” 25 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, “This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.” 26 This means that every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (TEV)
56 Another man of faith wrote to me: “When you have to be on your own, you can notice clearly the help of your brothers. Now, when it comes to my mind that I have to put up with everything ‘all alone’, I often think that, if it weren’t for that ‘company we keep from afar’—the holy Communion of Saints!—I would not be able to preserve this optimism which fills my heart.” (1)
I have served as a pastor for 15 some years, and as a Chaplain prior to that. In that time I have preached in churches of a number of denominations, and have been settled where I am now, in the Lutheran Church, for a good deal of that time. In both groups. (the Restoration Movement/Christian Church/churches of Christ and the LC-MS) the practice has been that of communing often, though “often” is up to local interpretation. (Some celebrate weekly, others bi-weekly, some more often than that!)
My own preference is as often as possible, even to the extent that if a number of people wanted to celebrate it daily, I would, and would rejoice over it.
Read the passages above. Hear of the love of God, the desire to form with us a community, and the extent to which Christ would suffer and die, in order to make possible this relationship. In participating in this feast, in proclaiming the death of Christ until He comes again, we proclaim a depth of love that extends through every part of our live. We come humbly together, before the throne of God, we celebrate the grace of God, the gifts of God.
We feast with Him, a foretaste of the promised feast to come, because we have been made His children, because He took on every one of my sins, every sin of every person at the altar, who I serve, as I give the Body broken for them, as they take this cup of the New Covenant, shed for the forgiveness of sin. As we with angels and archangels, with all the company of heaven, with everyone who has every trusted in God’s promises made to them, revealed in the scriptures.
As we celebrate His presence, His love, His glory, which we begin to see, simply as we find rest for our souls, as we are gathered.
I love the TEV’s words from Isaiah…. read them again..
We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.
11 After a life of suffering, he will again have joy; he will know that he did not suffer in vain. My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them.
How can you not desire to realize this often? How can you not be comforted by these words, this remembrance not just of the suffering and death, (and resurrection!) But the comfort of the words that reveal to you the love of God who promises to never leave us, never to forsake us.
How can we not proclaim this death, this love, this Lord of Life’s love, and how can we not desire to, often?
It’s our very life… as His people. (this is where I find the greatest source of strength, as I realize His love is for all of us)
Lord, have mercy on us, and teach us to treasure that mercy!!
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 456-460). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.