My husband and I travel a good bit. Our favorite places are those with natural beauty. Snow-capped mountains. Glistening lakes. Foliage in all shapes, sizes, and colors. White, sandy beaches stroked over and over again by crystal clear water. It’s the variety of God’s handiwork that keeps us amazed.
Visiting a variety of churches keeps us even more amazed. Most congregations have members with snow-capped (or missing) hair sitting alongside those whose youthful skin still glistens. We’ve discovered churches in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I’m sure the apostle Paul found variety in the churches he visited too. I’m also pretty sure first century churches didn’t feel required to always have two songs and a prayer before the sermon. 🙂 Perhaps, Spirit-filled moments frequently energized them all.
Church families today, even among the same tribes, still do things differently because each one responds to God out of their own experiences and relationship with Him. No matter the size, shape, or color of the churches Ron and I visit, they all display the matter of first importance: Jesus came, died, was buried, and rose again – for us! (1 Corinthians 15) Fully grasping God’s mercy and grace creates thankful hearts that know the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.(Galatians 5)
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he told the disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me.” The exactness of how to do it was secondary only to why they should do it. With Jesus, meaning ALWAYS trumps method.
After Jesus ascended back into heaven, I can’t imagine the apostles ever eating the bread and drinking the wine without recalling a variety of personal experiences with Jesus.
No doubt, many times as Peter took the bread in his hands, he remembered the look on Jesus face when He foretold, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.” With outstretched hands, Peter may have lifted a smile heavenward toward the friend who loved him so.
Maybe, as John received the cup he closed his eyes remembering the drops of Jesus’ blood splattering on the dirt beneath the cross.
Perhaps, John handed the cup to his brother James who dropped to his face as he considered his own arrogance in asking to sit at Jesus right or left hand. Yet, Jesus still loved him enough to drink the cup of suffering for him.
And possibly, as Thomas’s fingers held onto the striped and broken unleavened bread, he recalled placing his fingers into the wounds of Jesus. Perhaps, tears spotted his garment as he wondered how he could have ever doubted a man so full of love and compassion.
Years later, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians reminding them of Jesus’ words; “Do this in remembrance of me.” They had remembered the meal without remembering the reason. Paul, the self-proclaimed worst of sinners, personally understood the why of remembering. He knew the Corinthians needed to make worship personal for it to truly provide spiritual nourishment. Only by allowing Jesus’ sacrifice to cover their own personal sins could they ever find the freedom to joyfully love others the way He did.
What about you? Do you have a moment much like those of the apostles? A human moment that magnifies all Jesus has supernaturally done for you? Have you accepted his forgiveness and grace? If you are still spending time in the Word this week, then I know the Holy Spirit is leading you to some incredible places. Enjoy the journey, even if He’s dragging you up a mountain. Believe it or not, there’s crystal clear water waiting for you at the top!