Monday, August 5, 2013

Communion, Reflection and NKOTB

This week our pastor pitched a couple of questions on facebook for our congregation to chime in on with their insights and experiences. The questions were:

What does communion mean to you?

What was a time when communion was particularly meaningful? Why?

Although I did not contribute to the thread, my responses to these inquiries have been swimming in my head for a few days until I felt my thoughts would require more than a comment box. Enter this blog post.

For me, a meaningful communion is one in which I have had adequate time to reflect on the cross. So what? Doesn't everyone reflect on the cross before communion? Maybe. However, I think it requires a bit of time to bring our heart to a point of true remembrance. Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” I “remember” that Christ died for my sins every day. But, what is different about the remembrance we offer Him during communion? Well, we remember not just that He died on the cross for our sins. I believe it is profoundly more than that. We remember how we were broken the first time we came to the understanding of exactly what happened that good, good Friday. The exercise is painful but it is our defense against desensitization to his sacrifice.

My reflection before communion usually has 4 parts to it. Don't get me wrong, I am not proposing a 4 step, never fail, always have an amazing communion program here. This is just what has been especially helpful for me in my time communion and during any time or worship.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I watched a low budget horror flick called The Candyman at a friend's birthday sleepover. One scene almost caused me to upchuck my chocolate cake all over my NKOTB sleeping bag. At that point in my life I decided that me and gory movies don't really get along. So you may be surprised when I tell you that the first thing I envision before communion is Christ's wounds. No doubt the scene was horrific but I allow my mind to look at his pierced brow, bleeding wrist, throbbing feet and the blood poring from his side. It makes me a little queasy to see my savior's body broken this way and yet there is a beauty that I cannot explain.

Second, I think about the sounds. I imagine the cries of pain coming from the lips of my Lord. I hear the mockery going on all around me. Perhaps most heartbreaking, I imagine shouts of betrayal coming from my own mouth as well. At first I think, “I would never say those things to you Lord” but I am quickly reminded of times in my life when my actions have proved otherwise.

The next thing I think about is the hardest to wrap my brain around. I imagine the shame, guilt and despair that sin has caused in my own life then I try to fathom how that was multiplied for every person that has ever lived.... ever..... and laid on Christ at the cross. The emotional pain that Jesus felt that day far surpassed the physical misery he endured.

Lastly, I remember that in the midst of all this ugliness.... He never stopped loving me. It's simple and yet this last part is what brings me back to the way I felt when I first fell in love with my savior. It breaks me again. In the words of Tullian Tchividhian, it “wrecks me afresh.” It evokes a worship from my heart that cultivates an intimacy between me and God that I have longed for in the midst of the mundane. How great is our God!

" Here in Your presence
I am not afraid of brokenness
To wash Your feet with humble tears
I would be poured out till nothing's left

And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are

Beautiful, beautiful
Oh, I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful
Oh Lord You're beautiful to me"

-Beautiful by Kari Jobe

So, how about you? What would your answers to my pastor's questions be?