Sunday, 9 August 2015

Can't make it to church? 9 August 2015

Today we have another of my Bible heroes, Elijah, legging it from Jezebel in fear for his life and he, like all of us at some time I'm sure, is feeling like throwing in the towel. 'Let me die,' he cries to God and yet he is not only encouraged by an Angel but is fed - another miraculous feeding (manna, the loaves in 2 Kings 4, the five thousand fed and now another one to add to the list) - and ends up at Horeb where the LORD (remember upper case means YHWH - The LORD God) passes by in the still small voice encounter. The tide is about to be turned against the bad guys: It's all about listening for the voice and experiencing the presence of God.

This is something that fits in nicely with more of the 'bread discourse' narrative from John. The living bread that not only sustains but brings eternal life: The way and means by which we go into the world and overcome and so it is fitting that we also have the Eucharist of 1 Corinthians as the cherry on the cake.

The Eucharist is the most important element of our corporate worship and we need to conduct the service rightly and engage with it ourselves in a proper and fitting manner. 

How do you do communion where you are?

What do you, and those around you, think that the Eucharist is all about?

As we eat the bread and drink the wine we find ourselves actively remembering the death and resurrection of jesus, the Christ, and in it we are associated, remembering (bringing together all of the members of the body of Christ) and proclaiming that one body.

It is so very important and so, when you next take Communion, perhaps you might like to think about all the aspects: Passover, Crucifixion, Resurrection, the Second Coming and the 'Now' in which we experience them and set yourself apart from the world and take upon yourself the Christlikeness that Jesus came to give as a gift to you?

And then prayer and thanks and praise would very much be in order

The Collect
Lord of heaven and earth,
as Jesus taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer,
give us patience and courage never to lose hope,
but always to bring our prayers before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 Kings 19.3-8
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. 
When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. 

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

1 Corinthians 11.23-32
I passed on to you what I received from the Lord. 
On the night the Lord Jesus was handed over to his enemies, he took bread. 
When he had given thanks, he broke it. He said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do it in memory of me.” 

In the same way, after supper he took the cup. He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do it in memory of me.” 

You eat the bread and drink the cup. When you do this, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. Eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in the right way. 
Don’t do it in a way that isn’t worthy of him. If you do, you will be guilty. You’ll be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

Everyone should take a careful look at themselves before they eat the bread and drink from the cup.  Whoever eats and drinks must recognize the body of Christ. If they don’t, judgment will come upon them. That is why many of you are weak and sick. That is why a number of you have died. We should think more carefully about what we are doing. Then we would not be found guilty for this. When the Lord judges us in this way, he corrects us. Then in the end we will not be judged along with the rest of the world.

John 6.35,41-51
Then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry. And whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Then the Jews there began to complain about Jesus. That was because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father and mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”  “Stop complaining among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me brings them. Then I will raise them up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘God will teach all of them. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who has come from God. Only he has seen the Father. What I’m about to tell you is true. Everyone who believes has life forever. I am the bread of life. Long ago your people ate the manna in the desert, and they still died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven. A person can eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Everyone who eats some of this bread will live forever.  This bread is my body. I will give it for the life of the world.”

Post Communion Prayer
God of our pilgrimage, you have willed that the gate of mercy 
should stand open for those who trust in you:
look upon us with your favour that we who follow the path of your will 

may never wander from the way of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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