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Communion 2011


Originally scheduled for September 4

Those of us who are of a certain age will remember one Popeye the Sailor. For those of you completely ignorant, Popeye is a cartoon character. He is not seen much today on television, because most of the cartoons were very early, done in black and white. Popeye lived the simple life — of violence. Almost all his cartoons would end with a fistfight. Just before the fistfight Popeye would consume an entire can of spinach, much to the dismay of those of us who dislike the substance.

Occasionally Popeye would describe himself this way: "I am what I am, and that's all what I am." It's a rather fatalistic view; it means that nothing can be done about this propensity to punch out other people. In truth, if something was done Popeye would no longer be Popeye.

Paul use some of the same words to describe himself as a man thoroughly changed:

1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. (NIV)

Paul started out as a thoroughgoing legalist. Completely certain of the righteousness of his opinions, he persecuted the early church. You might think that God would then consider him unforgivable. God did not. On the road to Damascus Paul met his master and everything in his life was changed. We are quite familiar with that change; sometimes we forget that God did this by grace due to his great love.

Grace is caused by the great love God has for his children. It is a gift; the gift is never earned. It is always given. That great love was given to us at the Cross. So that we might remember what God has done for us, Christ implemented the Lord's Supper. It is the way in which the church remembers and thanks God for what he has done.

"You are what you are, and that's all what you are." And what are you? Saved by grace.

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