Last Sunday our church gathered and remembered the Lord’s death by observing Communion. Over the past few years I have seen a trend towards making Communion as efficient and quick as possible. We have songs to sing, and sermons to preach and Communion eats up valuable time. Communion is rigid and inflexible; completely the opposite of our modern and mobile church goer. Communion is solemn, and sitting quietly makes the people in our busy culture squirm and fidget.
As I met with our worship pastor, Brandon, to plan the service I told him that I wanted to slow down. Jesus commanded that the church observe two ordinances: baptism and Communion. The observance of these two ordinances are a visible representation of Christ’s presence with his bride, and we should never treat either of these with words like efficiency or speed.
I believe that baptism and Communion, when held in esteem and practiced with wonder, deliver a kind of spiritual power and vigor to the church. They tie us to our history, to the apostles. They challenge our culture of assertive, go-getter philosophies by reminding us that salvation is accomplished for us, not by us. Communion is rigid; as rigid as the justice of God. And, yet, nothing more visibly demonstrates the pouring out of grace.
The sermon I preached was from John 6, the miracle of the loaves and fishes. My goal was to demonstrate that God’s kingdom is a place where hungry people are fed, and where dead people come to life. Jesus feeds the multitude, and offers them eternal life. He shows them how the hunger in their bellies demonstrates the need for a new kingdom. This world is starving and dying, and only those who look to the Son of God will experience eternal life. But how does that kingdom of fullness and life come to us? It only comes, Jesus says, through his broken body and blood poured out.
I have posted my unedited sermon manuscript below, and I would love to hear your thoughts on Communion and the kingdom of God.