bits from bob....
God, may what we share today and the prayers offered become the thoughts and deepest desires of your people in this place. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Text is Matthew 26; the same thought is reflected in 1 Cor. 11.
Jesus took break, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, this is my body. We have struggled with that concept. We have felt compelled to explain that it was not his literal body. In church history, people developed concepts of transubstantiation, consubstantiation, etc. We have talked about the emblems or symbols, but the Bible never uses any of those descriptions. We have talked about metaphors, but the Bible doesn't call it a metaphor. Jesus said, this is my body. Listen and apply--by faith, the bread is the body of Jesus. The word became flesh, and in the Supper, the word becomes part of our flesh. We eat the message, it is ours, it is within us, and it will be our guide this week. It will direct everything we do. We are saying that when we eat the bread. By faith, we eat the body of Christ so that he dwells in our hearts by faith, and his presence within us totally changes every aspect of our lives. We eat the bread, and we do not curse, we do not backbite or gossip, we dress modestly, we act appropriately, we avoid immorality. We are saying all of this. Do not eat the supper if you are not saying this--this is not a matter of being worthy because of what we have or have not done, this is a matter of whether we are serious about taking Jesus' body into our physical body. This is a matter of identifying ourselves as serious about the body of Christ, part of that body, functioning as part of that body, connected with the church which is his body, seeking every opportunity to interact with that body--prayer for one another, worship together, this evening, Wednesday night, during the week, the body, it matters. This is my body, take and eat.
God, we do not understand the wisdom and might of your ways, and how you can actually make it possible for us to take into ourselves the message, the body of Jesus, and to also be that body in the world today. Even without understanding, we are serious about that reality in our lives, and we today eat this bread which is his body by faith, declaring that we are serious about living this week the faithful message which we now eat. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Jesus took the cup, and he said, this is my blood of the covenant. Again, by faith, this is Jesus' blood. Not emblem, symbol, metaphor, or fancy explanation. By faith! The blood of the covenant-we drink and we reaffirm the covenant. We are in covenant with God-we are living in the covenant. Only covenant people drink the covenant blood. I am in covenant with God-this week I will be his, I will keep the covenant. When I drink the covenant, I am committing myself to the covenant, and I am saying, I will be here again next week. Covenant faithfulness is not sporadic, it is not one week on and two weeks off. We assemble as God's covenant people, and we covenant with God and with one another--we will love, we will encourage, we will care, we will be here when the body assembles, we will live out the covenant-the rest of today, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday....
God, thank you for making possible a covenant between divine God and human frailty, and thank you for declaring us clean by the covenant blood. We could not cleanse ourselves, but we can commit ourselves to the covenant in gratitude, and we do that this day as we take this fruit of the vine which is your blood. Dear God, we will live as covenant people until we renew the covenant again next Lord's Day. Yes, we will. The church says, yes, we will. Yes, we will. Thank you, in Jesus' name, Amen.