Here is yesterday’s communion meditation by Christina. I’m biased, but I thought it was really good:
Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year. 2017 is over and 2018 is about to commence.
It is during the beginning of a new year that people make resolutions where they decidedly put their failures and bad habits firmly in the past and start fresh. This is how it works ideally, anyway.
The beginning of a new year always has a certain quality that is typically found at the beginning of anything. There is a giddy sense of potential.
This is a feeling unique to the situation and is fleeting as time takes its toll.
As mortal beings, we’re all familiar with this cycle and the evidence of passing time. New things lose their shine and become ordinary. A new year, no matter how promising and exciting it may seem, will become just another average series of weeks turning into months. New becomes old and eventually everything comes to an end. We live life painfully aware of this temporal state.
What I have just described is the human experience of time. Is it not truly good news the message that tells us we no longer live under such principles?
Jesus, our forerunner, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, came to bring us life that is ever-new and never sullied by the wear of time.
This paradigm shift is one that is communicated in various ways throughout scripture. Perhaps the one that we are all familiar with is the reference to a “new creation” in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
That feeling that we get at the beginning of a new year – of the leaving whatever bad decisions, whatever habits and hang ups in the past and moving on to something new – is ours to access everyday. AND it is not dependant on our ability to achieve anything. What a freeing notion!
This newness is not simply an agreeable by-product of a life following Christ’s teachings – it is the prerequisite.
To further explore this idea, I will rely on the poignant words of Watchman Nee, the Chinese evangelist who is remembered for his leadership of an indigenous church movement in China.
Nee describes this life-giving process by explaining that “The flesh into which we were born was too bad to be made clean; it must be crucified. The work of God within us must be something wholly new.”
We are to be given a new heart and a new spirit as stated in Ezekiel.
To allow for the new, the old must die. As stated in Romans 6:6-7:
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
This crucifixion of self is not a one-time occurrence, but a daily ritual.
Our calling never changes, and though we may grow and mature, we never grow beyond that first step – die.
We come daily into the presence of a holy God under the banner of his son’s blood and we leave new, refreshed and free from all that has encumbered us in the past. That giddy feeling of possibility is endless. It never sours or dampens.
To quote Watchman Nee once more – “God keeps short accounts, and we are made new by the Blood every day, every hour, and every minute. It never loses its efficacy as our ground of access if we will but lay hold upon it.”
What a glorious truth!
The Lord’s supper is not only a celebration of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but a celebration of the new creation that we can now access through the blood.
The Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples at the end of his earthly ministry is our model for the Lord’s Supper. During this meal in Luke twenty-two, nineteen, Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks it and gives it to his disciples saying “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
We are all familiar with this passage and part of it is even etched on our communion table. The next verse, says “ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
In this way, through the Lord’s supper, we celebrate a new covenant founded on Christ’s blood sacrifice.
What does this new covenant entail? It was during the Lord’s Supper as told in the gospel of John that Jesus gave his disciples a “new command.” One that is three words long: “Love one another,” he says. “As I have loved you so you must love one another.” John thirteen, thirty four.
We have been given a new way of life – we are made new (every day, every minute, every hour) by the blood and our new command is to love one another. This is what we celebrate during the Lord’s Supper.
The best way to honor this occasion is to meditate on the meaning of this new life and to serve and love one another.
This is what Jesus passed on to his disciples throughout his ministry and especially during the Lord’s supper.
In our daily lives, living this out looks like sharing life – with God and with our brothers and sisters.
It looks like taking time with God to build your relationship with him. To get to know who he is. To become familiar with the Spirit’s voice speaking in your heart.
It looks like sharing life with other people through genuine Christ-like love. Christ says that we will be recognized as his disciples by our love for one another.
This means sacrificing your time, your resources for your brothers and sisters. Loving people for who they are – someone for whom Christ became man, died and rose again, for whom Christ bought forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
We must love others only as the person that they already are in Christ’s eyes. Communing with them and with our lord.
Now, let us celebrate this new life to which we have been called along with the sacrifice and love it entails for us daily.