In the audio podcast of this Sunday service, the Scripture reading begins at 25:00 and the Sermon begins at 27:20.
Scripture: Luke 14:15-24
Sermon: Respectful Ruth and Expectant Ed Take Communion
Respectful Ruth and Expectant Ed are both taking Communion today in their respective RCA churches. Coincidentally both pastors preached on Communion—Ruth’s in a respectful, even traditional, sort of way, and Ed’s in an expectant, more forward-thinking manner. Ruth’s pastor focused, very respectfully, upon the Last Supper: what Jesus said and did on his way to the cross back then. Expectant Ed’s pastor focused, very expectantly, upon the Great Banquet symbolizing the heavenly wedding banquet after the marriage of Christ the groom to his bride, the church—i.e., God’s goal for the future.
Neither Ed nor Ruth are wrong in their approach to Communion, we just need more of Ed.
Past: So as respectful Ruth awaits the Communion tray she enjoys the quiet organ music. Right now they’re playing her favorite Communion song so she hums… the old rugged cross… Her eyes turn to the cross in the sanctuary; in her mind’s eye she can still see the crucifix of her Roman Catholic youth. How heavy must have been Jesus’ heart at the Last Supper on the way to die for the sins of the world! Her meditation looks back.
Future: As expectant Ed awaits going forward for Communion he enjoys the joyful music. The choir is singing a gospel song of heaven: Soon and very soon…His hopeful heart imagines his communion table reflecting that heavenly banquet table where all of life’s deepest hungers—money, sex, power—will be filled! He smiles as he pictures Jesus’ welcome hugs around the table of rich and poor, black and white. He looks forward
Both Ed and Ruth are fine in their Communion time focus, we just need more of Ed.
Personal: Respectful Ruth prepares for communion by confessing personal regrets/sins. In her quiet meditation on the cross she can almost hear the pleading Savior, Come, as the hymn changes, Come home…Softly and Tenderly… And so before Ruth receives communion she makes her heart right by confessing her sins that nailed him there: regrets that she didn’t read her devotional, regrets that she laid awake worrying not praying
Cosmic: Expectant Ed prepares for communion by confessing personal and global regrets. He imagines those around that table, and sees those going forward now. Yes, he confesses prayerlessness and lack of personal Bible reading, but he also regrets cutting off John for the mall parking space, not giving to Rosa’s thanksgiving basket, and, looking out the window, cutting down those trees for his deck. Regrets with God and world
Both Ed and Ruth are fine in their Communion regrets, we just need more of Ed.
Careful Respectful: Ruth is very careful about sharing communion’s invitation with those outside the church. She has walked over to her new neighbor and said, If you are looking for a church, you’re welcome to come some Sunday with me, but she’s very cautious. She remembers the ugly history when the Pope used the compel verse in the Inquisition to force Jews and Muslims to convert to Christ at the point of a sword.
Urgent: Expectant Ed shares communion’s invitation to come to church with a friend at work, too, but he sees the more urgent invitation to a relationship with Jesus. Ed listens to Fred’s woes of being in the marriage doghouse over and over. Lately Ed’s challenging him to pray for God’s guidance. Fred whispered at work, I prayed, and it helped!
Both Ed and Ruth are fine in their Communion invitations, we just need more of Ed.
Will you take communion like Ruth or Ed today? Try to do it expecting Christ’s return.
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