Welcome to Becomning Closer! 

Communion (1995 Series)

Until He Comes

Scheduled for December 28

(Mat 26:29 NIV)  I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

 

One of the many uses of ritual is to teach.  Most of us learn best through repetition.  If you think not, try diagramming this sentence.  Unless you happen to teach English, most likely you can’t do it.  It’s not that you weren’t taught how;  it’s just that you don’t practice it.  The same thing is true in our ritual life.  If you wish to learn from it, you must repeat it.  So we repeat those rituals whose lessons need to be learned and relearned;  therefore, we repeat the Lord’s Supper.

One reason for this is that in Communion we proclaim not only the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, but also his coming again.  It is not an aspect of Communion which is much emphasized.  Indeed, I find that the return of the Lord is a subject which is dealt with very lightly in the church today (with some notable exceptions).  This is strange, considering that we proclaim it every week in our ritual.

Make no mistake about it:  we do proclaim it in the Lord’s Supper.  Our Lord explicitly connected this Passover meal with his return.  Indeed, not with a return visit, but with the establishment of his Father’s kingdom.  You cannot take the Lord’s Supper and consistently deny the return of Christ.

 

Christ also taught that when he returns in power and glory we will see the resurrection of the dead.  There are many disputing theories about the details of this, but all agree on these things:

·         All the dead will be raised -- to face some sort of judgment.

·         The dead in Christ will be raised like He was raised -- incorruptible.

·         The resurrection is a bodily resurrection, not just a “spiritual” one.

More than this is difficult to say.  Leaving aside the controversial, those who are in Christ will be raised from the dead, in bodily form, to meet him at his return.  That body is an eternal body;  the fellowship with him and with the Father is eternal.

 

And we proclaim this truth every time we take Communion.  Our deepest thoughts, the ones which surpass words, are acted out in symbol and ritual.  This is a part of the deepest ritual in Christianity. 

Note, “a part.”  The resurrection of the dead cannot be separated from the Passion of Christ.  The resurrection is not an afterthought;  it is not a pleasant epilogue to Christ’s ministry.  The resurrection is part and parcel of the first coming of  Christ.  He meant to bring this message.  The Old Testament hints at it (in a couple of passages rather explicitly); all of Christ’s teaching on the subject presumes it.  Paul develops it more fully.  Jesus Christ did not intend his sacrifice to be effective in this life only.  When you take this cup, you look backward to the sacrifice -- and forward to his coming again.\

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