Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Lord's Supper

A good many sermons are preached about Communion in August. The Lectionary specifies readings from the 6th chapter of John. Is Jesus' claim something symbolic and mystical...or is it physical? 

I am the bread of life (v35) …which a man may eat and not die (v50) …for my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (v55) 

And the Disciples said: This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? (v60)

Lord Christ, 

I had a breakthrough Sunday, 
about the bread and wine, 
about your body and blood. 

It wasn’t about transubstantiation, 
or other fine points of theology. 
It wasn’t about wine vs. grape juice, 
or bread vs. wafers. 

…but I finally got it: 

You are flesh and blood. 
You are a real presence. 

…and we need to be reminded, 
every week, every time we gather, 
of that which we can not see. 

You are flesh and blood. 
You are a real presence. 

I cannot see you, Jesus, 
or touch you, 
but you are present in my life.

I am blessed,
richly blessed,
that you see me, 
that you touch me. Amen.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This is a Psalm? Really?

Father God, What am I to make of Psalm 109? King David pleads for retribution and vindication against his enemies: 

May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. (v9-10)

I should resist those sentiments, right? What if I lived in a violent neighborhood or a war torn country or faced religious persecution. I just might be praying David’s prayer. Actually, his honesty and transparency are a worthy example: 

Sovereign LORD, help me for your name's sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. (v21-22)

Lord Christ, you are the supreme example of suffering, of unjust and unwarranted misery. You are our salve for vengeance and payback. A contemporary theologian reminds me that you are "in the midst of human suffering, listening to every sigh, collecting every tear, resonating with the trembling of every fear-stricken heart." (Miroslav Volf)

I’m not besieged by enemies, but I am confounded by the injustice and suffering on this planet. At times I feel defeated by my own mistakes and burdens. 

Holy Spirit, give me King David’s candor before my God. Convey his trust and confidence. Out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. Amen. 

This prayer was inspired by Andy Bathgate’s Encounter with God Bible study on Psalm 109 for Scripture Union. He’s the CEO of SU/Scotland.

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