On the Plains of Moab Blog
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July 16, 2011, 6:14 PM

"This Do in Rembrance of Me"



The title of this entry is the memorable way the old King James Bible records the words of institution for the Lord's Supper.  Remembering the Lord Jesus Christ in his life and his death and his resurrection.  Tomorrow's sermon will try to unpack what it means to take communion in remembrance of those Christological realities -- his life, his death on the cross and his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father.

As a matter of course, when I preach on communion, I like to unpack that wonderful, middle of the road position -- between Rome on one side, and the followers of Zwingli on the other -- namely, the "real presence" of Christ in the faithful partaking of the communion elements.  When we take communion, we aren't just merely remembering Jesus, we are actually particpating in his body and his blood (Zwingli-ism), and the elements do not magically become (transubstantiate) the literal body of Jesus.  No, by faith, we are brought into the presence of Christ.  We commune with him.  We are fed spiritually -- empowered, much as the Israelites in the wilderness were strenthened by the water from the rock and the manna from heaven.  (They got sick and complacent from that routine much as we get a little bored with the routine of monthly communion... But that's another sermon for another day!)

I say all that to says this:  Just because I speak solely of remembrance tomorrow, it doesn't mean that I've reneged on "real presence."  As with so many things in the Faith, there is a richness and complexity with our understanding of what it means to be the people of God.  When it comes to the Lord's Supper, we must recognize and cherish several realities represented there to us:  Past (what Christ has done for us -- dying for our sins), present (what Christ is working in us -- holiness) and future (what Christ will do -- fellowship in the "marriage supper of the Lamb).

Tomorrow, we will deal with the first perspective.

PS  The picture here is a totally gratuitous and non-germane to the topic!  However, it is the very first time Noelle and I laid eyes on each other.  Note well the look of suspicion in her eyes.  I am happy to report that she has moved on to full trust and faith in her earthly father.


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