Share the Cup 5

Psalm 40:3

On the cooking show “Top Chef” there was a contestant who liked to say that she always added love as one of her ingredients. What she meant was that her food was more than just cooked meats and vegetables. Her meals were more than just tasty edibles. What she made she created with the intention of pleasing the one who ate, of providing healthy and nutritious food for them.

The psalmist talks about what the Lord gives to us. What did God put in his mouth? How does this help others?

Taking part in Holy Communion involves more than simply eating bread and drinking wine or juice. Communion transforms these ordinary elements into something so much more.

In Communion we are celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus. We are celebrating love from God. We are being nourished not in body but in our souls. That which we are taking in is more than just bread and drink, but the love and grace of our God.

We receive more than simple foods in Communion. We receive a new spirit. We receive all over again the forgiveness and strengthening grace of God. And that should put a new song in our mouths as well.

Communion should be a time when we offer up a new hymn of praise and gratitude to the Lord. We should celebrate with Him all the love that is being shared. We should praise God for the new life, the new attitude we are given by sharing this meal with Jesus.

In this sacrament we are communing with the very spirit of Jesus. We are sharing a time together with the Holy Spirit of God. And this is a reminder that Jesus is entering into our lives and hearts to give us new hope in all that we do.

And with this new song and new spirit in us we can show God’s love to others so that they may also come to believe and accept.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you welcome the new song God will give you?

Share the Cup 4

Ephesians 3:16-18

My mother always encouraged me in life. She wanted me to do well in school. She wanted me to have good jobs and to excel at those positions. She wanted me to have a life of fulfillment and happiness.

I didn’t always get to hear about how proud she was of what I had done in my life, however. Instead it seemed that I heard about what successful people my brother and sister were. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I talked to my sister that I found out she was telling her the same things. Mom was proud of me, she just told everyone but me.

In Ephesians we find a prayer offered up for the believers. What should we receive through the glorious riches of Jesus? What should we grasp?

Our celebration of Communion is a celebration of the depth and power of Christ’s love. It is a reminder of how far Jesus was willing to go for us to receive the love of God. Jesus was willing to give himself completely for our salvation. He was willing to replace his holy innocence with the stain of all of our guilt and sin. He was willing to have his body broken on the cross and have his blood poured out so that we might achieve eternal life.

And more than eternal life, Jesus wanted us to know as we lived just how deeply God loves us and cares for us. The breaking of the bread is a reminder that Jesus has broken himself open so that we might have access to his grace and forgiveness.

We do not have to go through life wondering if God loves us. We know in our hearts that He treasures each one of us. The service of Holy Communion should be that constant reminder of how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Communion is that opportunity for us be strengthened by the presence of Jesus’ Spirit. It allows us to be rooted in the love of Jesus and to commune – connect – with all the believers who live now and those who have come before us.

Communion is the celebration of the glorious riches Jesus holds for us. Allow the experience to be a time when you welcome the love and presence of God.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you allow Communion to remind you of God’s love?

Share the Cup 3

Mark 14:22-24

When our kids were younger we bought them geodes while on vacation. Geodes are round rocks that are rather plain on the outside. What you need to do is break the stone open, cracking it in half, so that you can see what is on the inside.

Inside the geode are sparkling crystals that form on the inner lining of these hollow, stone orbs. You can only see the wonderful beauty of the rock when you have cracked it open.

In his time with the disciples during the Last Supper Jesus initiated, or started, the sacrament of Communion. What did Jesus do with the bread? What did he say about it? What did he do with the cup of wine? What did he say about it?

Bread can be a wonderful, delicious and nourishing substance. Wine can be a delicious and delightful drink of celebration. But neither of them can be enjoyed until they have been consumed. To eat the bread you must break into the bread.

In his time with the disciples Jesus was comparing himself to the ordinary substances of bread and wine. As he broke the bread he told the disciples that it was his body. He made the same reference to the wine saying it was his blood.

What he meant was that like the bread his body would be broken at the crucifixion. Like the wine his blood would be poured out. But I believe he also meant that like the bread Jesus had to be broken, to become the human who would suffer, so that we might have access to him. Through the humble act of allowing himself to suffer and die we can become the companions of the Son of God. Through the shedding of his blood we have access to the forgiveness God offers.

As we celebrate Communion we must remember that Jesus has opened himself up to us. He has broken himself so that we might be able to be part of who he is and he might be part of who we are. In the sharing of the bread and wine we are made the friends of Jesus who will enjoy his companionship.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What will help you remember the deeper meaning of Communion?

Share the Cup 2

John 13:34

It takes a lot to keep our household going. With a family of five there is never a lack of things that need to be done. Often, when we leave the house for work or to go away for an evening, we will leave a list of things that need to be taken care of in our absence.

Our children might be instructed to empty the dishwasher, vacuum the carpet, sweep the floor or take out the trash. All of us have things that we need to do or that we should do in our lives.

Our faith in Jesus compels us to do the ministry of God’s kingdom. If we believe in who Jesus was and is then we are naturally going to do good deeds to share God’s love. According to John, in his last evening with his disciples Jesus gave his followers one command to be followed. What was it?

Jesus said that his was a new command. His words probably made reference to all the many religious laws and rules of the Jewish faith. He may also have been referring to the instructions he had been giving throughout his ministry – like those found in “The Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5 – 7.

Now he has some new instructions for those who believe. His words were said to the disciples present with him at the Last Supper, but we can believe that what he had to say is meant for each of us today.

His new command was that we love one another. Then he gives more details. We are to love one another in the same way that Jesus has loved us. That type of love is a love of acceptance and self-sacrifice.

Jesus was willing to humble himself for us. He was willing to lower himself from being the Son of God to being another human friend to all of us sinners.

Such is the love we should have for others. We should be willing to share the cup of Communion, the cup of redemption, the cup of salvation, the cup of compassion and love with all other people. That means we are willing to treat everyone else as an equal to us. We must be willing to share the intimacy of a meal with people we may otherwise find unpleasant or unworthy.

Such is the example of love Christ gave to us. Such is the love we are commanded to live out.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What must you do to love as Jesus loved?

Share the Cup 1

Revelation 3:20 (NLT)

When I first began dating Peggy her father had a little joke he liked to play on visitors. When a person would arrive at the house in the evening he would turn off all the lights quickly and pretend he wasn’t home. It was obvious he was at home, but there was a moment or two where a person was left out on the porch knocking on the door wondering if the door would be opened.

Fortunately, that is not the case in our relationship with Jesus. Not only does Jesus welcome everyone who comes to him, he is anxious to be in the company of us.

Our 10/2 Grow devotions usually link to the New International Version (NIV) of the bible, but today’s passage uses the New Living Translation (NLT) because of the specific wording used. What does Jesus say about himself? What will he do if we open the door?

This passage tells us so much about our Lord. He is the one seeking us at this time. He is the one who knocks, who is trying to establish that connection and relationship with us.

But we are the ones who are supposed to open the door. Jesus does not force himself on anyone, but makes himself eagerly available to be in companionship with anyone who will welcome him. We must open ourselves to the grace of Jesus.

And when we open ourselves to the grace of Christ, he will enter our hearts and make his home with us. We will not be left alone or left expecting an arrival that does not come.

The meal that Jesus will share with us is a meal of abundance. It is a blessing of incredible goodness that will fill us up spiritually. We will no longer feel an emptiness or a loneliness any more. And Jesus joins us not as Master and Lord, but as a friend. He is there to be that companion and helper in all things.

Our time of Holy Communion is an opportunity to open the door for Jesus. He has already given himself for our redemption. Now he desires to be in our company, to be welcomed into our hearts where he may live as a constant and eternal friend.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you open the door for Jesus?