Communion 5

Acts 2:46-47

A few years back we knew that we would be unable to visit with our families over the Easter weekend. It was just not part of our busy schedule that year and we decided we would simply have a nice Easter Sunday meal at home as a family. We prepared a nice ham and all the side dishes – salad, mashed potatoes, corn and so on. It was a lot of food but we went ahead with our plans.

Then, unexpectedly, my sister and mother showed up at our house. We were excited at that point to have prepared such a large meal of abundance. And we were pleased that someone had come to share it with us.

After the resurrection of Jesus and after he was taken up into heaven, the faithful believers continued to meet together as the beginnings of the church we know today. What did they do? What was their attitude?

The love and grace of Jesus Christ did not stop with his death. It continued on among the faithful and still flows today. The early believers would gather together in informal bands of worshipers. As part of their worship there was the sharing of food.

The believers would break bread together – eat – and they did it with glad hearts. They were pleased to be with one another and they were gladdened by the fact that each of them had a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Such should be our attitude as we celebrate Communion in our places of worship. Communion may be a time when we examine ourselves, where we realize that we are not worthy to receive such grace from God. But it should also be a time of celebration and gladness. We should take part in Communion with glad hearts, realizing that although we are unworthy, still Jesus loves us so much that he continues to open himself up to us so that we might be in his loving presence.

Let us rejoice as we take part in Communion. Let us be glad that Jesus loves us. And let us also take the opportunity of Communion to once more invite the Spirit of God to live in our hearts.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be certain to have a glad heart when you take part in Communion?

Communion 4

Acts 5:17-20

When I was in college I stopped attending church because I was so disillusioned by the behavior of so many “Christians.” But when I shared my frustration with my uncle he told me, “Don’t let anyone else keep you out of God’s house.”

That comment really turned me around. I give my uncle the credit for starting a new life of faith that has resulted with my being in the ministry today.

The early church was not without its setbacks and problems. In Acts 5 Peter and other apostles have been preaching and healing many people out in the streets and in the Temple. How do the religious leaders react? What happens to those who are jailed? What command does the angel give?

The high priest and his associates were so upset with Peter and the others that they were jailed so they could be silenced. These leaders were trying to stop the ministry going on. But God intervened by sending an angel to set them free from prison.

And with that freedom came a command to keep doing what they had been doing. Their work was not yet completed.

As we work through our own spiritual growth and tend to our own faith journey we will encounter obstacles and road blocks. Some may be so big that they will keep us from living out our faith the way we should.

But we must remember Jesus’ instructions to the disciples at the feeding of the 5,000. “You give them something to eat.” It is up to us to help build the kingdom of God. It is up to us, in communion with the risen Christ, to be about saving souls and spreading the good news.

No matter what may come our way, no matter what setbacks we might encounter, no matter what negative thoughts and words may come at us from those around us, we need to be about feeding the hungry souls of the lost. We need to be part of Christ’s ministry. We need to tell the people the full message of this new life.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you overcome your obstacles and preach about the new life in Christ?

Communion 3

John 6:48-51

If you are a parent you have likely encountered problems with getting your child to eat the proper foods. Many children, perhaps most children, would rather eat sweets and candies rather than healthy vegetables no matter how they are cooked and presented.

As adults we know what is best for our children. We know what foods will give them healthier, stronger bodies. But it isn’t always something the child will accept.

When addressing the crowds that followed him Jesus offered a comment on just who he was. What does Jesus say that he is? What is the difference between his bread and the manna the Jews ate in the wilderness? What is special about the “bread” of Christ?

This was a difficult message for people to hear and understand. First, Jesus claimed that he was living bread. He told them that they should eat his flesh (verse 51) and that would provide eternal life.

Additionally, he made a comment about the miracle that the Jews had experienced during the Exodus, a miracle revered by the faithful. He pointed out that even though these people had eaten a gift from God they were still mortal and did eventually die.

The confusion came when people took Jesus literally. During the institution of Communion at the Last Supper Jesus explained that the bread the disciples would eat was his flesh. What he meant was that, like the bread, his body would be broken. Like the bread, the presence of Jesus would give eternal life.

We cannot take these words too literally. We must learn to understand that we must take part in the presence, grace and teaching of Jesus to gain everlasting life. By taking part in Jesus, the way we might take part in a daily meal, we are given a new life, a new way of living and loving and being children of God.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you take part in the flesh of Christ?

Communion 2

Luke 9:16-17

The tradition of Communion can be very important to many believers. It is a holy moment in worship. It is a time when we are face to face with our Savior, a time of remembering the sacrifice Jesus has made for our salvation.

It is also a time of being one – communing – with our Lord. By taking in the bread and the wine we are symbolically taking in the very Spirit and presence of Christ. As the bread and wine becomes part of who we are we should see that we are making Jesus part of who we are.

In spite of his instruction for the disciples to feed the crowd, Jesus is the one who takes the food that has been offered and feeds the people. What did Jesus do with the loaves and fish? What did the disciples do? What was the result?

We can see the spirituality of Jesus in this act. Being a faithful child of God he offered thanks for the gifts of bread and fish. He praised God for His abundance. Then he broke the bread so that it could be eaten by the crowd.

In this moment of breaking the bread we should be reminded of what we know will later happen at the Last Supper. Jesus broke the bread and told the disciples that the bread was his body. He would be broken for all of us, broken so that we might be part of his holiness and part of God’s kingdom. He was broken so that we might commune with our Savior.

This meal with the crowd of more than 5,000 people is another time where Jesus gives himself to others. As the bread and fish were being set out for the people to take part, so Jesus was being set out for all to come and partake. Just as the meager offering of five loaves and two fish were enough to satisfy the crowd of thousands, so the simple offering of the body of Christ is enough to satisfy the needy souls of the world.

Even after all those thousands of people ate and were satisfied there was plenty left over. So it is with the Spirit of Christ. Jesus is enough to save the world. And as we join with him in leading souls to God there will be more than enough love and grace remaining when we are done.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be part of Christ’s ministry?

Communion 1

Luke 9:12-13

Many years ago I took part in an on-line Internet bulletin board where people from all around the world discussed all manner of ideas and concerns. I shared some of the comments being made with a co-worker. Hearing what was being discussed she had some opinions of her own. She started to tell me what I should say in response to some of the comments.

“Tell them . . . ,” she started to say to me. “Tell them yourself,” I said.

There are often times and occasions in our life when we have something we would like to have said or get done. And there are times when we decide it is the responsibility of others to get these things accomplished. But, in fact, it is our own responsibility to do these things.

In Luke 9 we have the familiar story of the Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus and his disciples have been seen by many people and a crowd has gathered to hear what teachings Jesus might impart. As he taught time passed and the day grew late. What did the disciples want Jesus to do? What did Jesus tell the disciples?

It is evident that the people who have followed Jesus are in need of direction in their spiritual life. They have come to listen to the great teacher. They are eager to grow in their faith.

But the demands of life enter in. The day is growing old and people are likely getting hungry. They must eat something. They need food for sustenance just as they need spiritual teaching for their souls.

The solution the disciples come up with is to send everyone away. Let them fend for themselves. But more than that, they want Jesus to be the one who sends them off.

But Jesus tells the disciples that they, the disciples, should give this crowd something to eat. They need to get to work.

Like the disciples, we may see the need that other people have in their lives. They need hope and love. They need spiritual nourishment. And like the disciples we may think that it is the responsibility of others to handle the problem. But Jesus is speaking to us as well. “You give them something.”

Each of us as Christians is responsible for feeding the hungry souls of the lost. Each of us is responsible for being about the work of God’s kingdom.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you give to someone in need?