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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering Jesus: A Collage of Comments

In researching the subject of communion, I asked some people for some feedback on their thoughts, convictions and experiences on "Remembering Jesus".  This is what came in.  The first response that I got, actually has the five questions that I asked. 

1. What has been your most memorable Communion experience?

My most memorable experiences celebrating Communion have been potluck dinner party's from house to house with family and friends. -- Acts 20:20 

2. What has been the most unique Communion experience you have had?

We (GJ forum old timers) calculated the different time zones, met on-line at the same time, celebrated Communion and shared encouragement, Scripture, Youtube Praise Songs and inspirational pictures. 

3. What are your personal absolute musts when it comes to observing Communion. (Remember, I am looking for personal observances, not denominational doctrine) 

My personal absolute musts for a Communion celebration includes a dinner party with family and friends in a home with everyone sharing in joyful songs, 
encouraging Scriptures, and uplifting prayers focused on Jesus. 

4. What does the observance of Communion mean to you, personally? 

It is the heart and soul of where two or more are gathered in His name (focused on Him), He (Jesus) is there with them! What could be better than that?

5. Do you have a special scripture verse that you can share to go along with your comments?

"And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there." 
Matthew 18:20 (The Message)

“He (Jesus) gave to his Church - the Holy Eucharist, where the bread and wine become His body and blood, soul and divinity in us. To us, He is the Living Bread coming down from heaven like manna. By eating his body, blood, soul and divinity we become one with Him and in Him.

“ I had been taking part in a seminar for prayer ministry.  We were invited to ask the Lord to give us a special place to meet with Him.  I closed my  eyes and because I am a visual person, I right away saw myself in a green pasture laying on the back of my favourite horse just enjoying the summer sun.   Then they asked,  ‘Where is Jesus in your favourite place.’  Then I saw Him on a colourful picnic blanket, lunch ready with the invitation to join him for bread and wine.
Communion has never been quite the same since, and if I ever feel communion is getting too routine, I remember the intimacy of that communion, and know that each communion holds all that potential if I seek it.”

For me, Communion is simple. It can be celebrated anywhere by anyone at anytime! I like simple.

When thinking of communion I think of Mat 18:20. "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." (NLT)

In a more formal sense, it is where we come together to remember Jesus and the new covenant he gave us so we can now go to God directly. We are now the temple, a temple what used to be a place where animal sacrifices were made to connect with God. 

But most of all, it is where Life and Love (Jesus) conquered and defeated sin and death so that we could be free, really free.

1. One of the most memorable experiences celebrating Communion was at a Messianic Seder Dinner. (Messianic Haggadah)

2. One of the most unique Communion experiences was in a basketball gym!

3. My personal absolute musts when it comes to observing Communion would be the focus on Jesus and the preeminence of Jesus. 

4. The observance of Communion means remembering Jesus’ love for us all. 

5. My special Scripture verses would be:

"For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”  In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again."
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 New Living Translation)

When I receive the bread and grape juice, I reflect on my background and think of what we prayed individually.

" I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the Word, and I shall be healed."

 A very beautiful and humble prayer and I do truly think that healing does take place in our hearts and perhaps our body as well on some level. 

 But because it was my background, it still is important and special for me to participate in the ceremony at least once a month. At my church, I find communion very slow and somewhat long, but it supposed to be a time of prayer and reflection as well. 

 I am of the opinion that communion is for US.  Communion is a chance to remember.  A chance for us to celebrate the body and blood of Christ.  It allows me to remember, to consider the others and to remember the One who made it possible.

I'm not too concerned about how it is done, where it is done, or with whom.  My interest would be remembering with others and being impacted in our hearts.

There are so many things I can say about Jesus. What I remember the most is His love of all people. This has been a real passion of mine in the last little while. Jesus spent time with the "sinners and tax collectors". It is the sick that need a healer not the well. If Jesus were in flesh today, he would be sitting with the prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, and all other types of "sinners" in our day and age. Why can't we accept them in our church? Why can't we love them the way Jesus loved us first? Oh yeah, cause I am a proud, hypocritical Christian - as are many of us if we really look at ourselves. Jesus loves ALL, Jesus died for ALL!"

(names are changed for the purpose of anonymity )

 The most powerful picture I treasure of Communion was when my cousin's daughter was diagnosed with cancer of the liver at the young age of six weeks.  I had the privilege to fly down to the hospital  with several people and the pastor to the baptism of Susan.  She was not expected to live.  So there we were in the hospital chapel, Susan was attached to an IV on wheels and all of us standing around a basin of water.  Before the baptism we had communion together and the pastor dipped his finger into the challis of wine and one drop hung on the end of his finger as he moved it to Susan's little rose petal lips.  
In my hotel room that morning I had spent time searching for answers in my devotions.  I should have kept a diary because the verses that came were full of promise.  One was about the power of the blood of Jesus.  At that time it was not common to give a child communion, but in Susan's case it just seemed so natural because most of us did not expect her to live... 
 They said that this cancer was very aggressive and that if it had not been detected early it would have been very difficult to treat.   So  both mother and daughter had chemo and both have had no reoccurrence.  That was well over 20 years ago.  I believe the power of the blood of Jesus did it's work in that way that day. 

I give thanks to Jehovah for letting the sinners take part in His meal.

One Easter, a few years ago, I asked the Lord to give me a personal Easter moment with Him. I wanted to feel what He felt, as He sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. I wanted to feel what He felt, when He hung on the cross in my place. I wanted that Easter to be a memorable one. I had no idea what was in store for me.
It was Maundy Thursday and as we had our usual service at the church, communion was a part of that. I knelt at the chancel, hearing those familiar words as the bread was placed in my open hands, “Christ’s body given for you.”  I put the communion wafer in my mouth and let it melt there. I heard the words as the cup was passed to the person beside me, “Christ’s blood, shed for you.” I was next in line to receive the precious cup – to hear those precious words spoken over me… but then the unimaginable happened. The person who was giving the cup turned around and went back to the altar, placing the lid on the rest of the cups. I had been missed. I felt tears sting my cheeks as I got up and went back to sing the next song. At that moment I felt forsaken and separated from God’s grace and love. I was heartbroken. 
Then something amazing happened. It was as if Christ whispered in my ear, “You asked me to show you how I felt”, and suddenly I knew that my prayer had been answered. As He knelt in the garden - as He hung on the cross, He felt forsaken and abandoned by His Father. By His grace and mercy, I only felt a fraction of what He felt, and for that I’m truly grateful because it was horrible…. and yet beautiful at the same time.  
I can honestly say that I found beauty in communion that day, and I will never take it lightly or forgranted again. Every time I eat of the bread and drink the cup, I am reminded of that Easter moment. It was in that moment that I realized not only what Christ suffered for me, but also how much communion means to me. 

May God bless and keep you this Easter. 

I want to thank everyone for their submissions for this blog post. I asked quite a few people and got a some awesome responses.  As I read over the comments one more time before posting, I can see so many differences in perspective and practice, but I also can see a common heart for Jesus.  And that, my friends, is what excites and inspires me. And that is why I did this.  

Don't forget:"Remembering Jesus: The Original Story" Post date: April 17th. 

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