Sunday, August 7, 2011

Please don't let me forget.

This morning we took communion at church. It varies by denomination but at our church, we take communion on the 1st Sunday of every month. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church where we took communion once per quarter. Larry's teen years were spent primarily in a Church of Christ or Independent Christian church where they take communion every Sunday.

I have friends whose churches use different methods to serve communion, but at our church, the deacons pass offering plate-style containers down the rows of people containing the 2 elements: putter cups of grape juice and little cracker-style wafers. (Yes, they're really called putter cups...ask me some other time how I know that.)

Where I grew up, 'the Lord's supper' was a very quiet, reverent event. Because it was done so infrequently, it was handled in a very special, ceremonial sort of way. Families were asked to sit together & the sanctuary was silent. The pastor would speak briefly about what the Lord's Supper signified. The elements would be passed out by deacons who were dressed in suits & ties. The father of each family, or a male friend served each family their bread & juice. We immediately ate & drank and then we filed quietly out of the building. The sanctuary was open for anyone who wanted to stay & pray quietly for a while, but most people left quickly with their families. It was asked that we not speak until we left to preserve the sense of solemnity the occasion deserved. As a child, I never really understood why we did it that way. I knew what it was about, but all the ritualistic, ceremonial stuff made me scratch my head in wonder. Why did we have to go into a dimly lit room & not speak & dress up for a 10 minute ceremony?

Today as I sat, holding my teeny cup of grape juice and little wafer, I prayed. In every church I've ever attended, members of the congregation are encouraged to spend their communion time in prayer, thanking God for sending His Son, thanking Jesus for shedding His blood and giving His life, confessing sins that you have committed.

But today, all I could think to pray over & over was to never forget.
To never forget the blood He shed.
To never forget the pain He experienced as the nails were driven into His hands and feet.
To never forget the sacrifice He made.
To never forget the enormity of His gift.
To never forget the anguish Jesus's death caused His mother. No mother wants to bury her child.
To never forget the darkness He must have felt in the last moments when His Father turned His face away because of the SIN Jesus was carrying to the grave. My sins.

I think in the world today, especially in the Bible Belt where I live, where there is a church on every street corner ....sometimes 2-3 on every street corner.... it is easy for us to gloss over what Jesus did for us. We see crosses everywhere. On Tshirts, on necklaces, on bracelets, on our living room walls.

I think that just like we become desensitized to violence & sex & cursing in movies and on TV, we become desensitized on a far sadder level to the holiness of Jesus. We have seen so many crucifixes and have heard so many sermons that somewhere along the way, we've lost our grasp on the death of Christ. For us. Because of us.

Today I prayed that God would help me to never forget. I urge you to do the same.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Amen and amen. We cannot forget. I so wish that we did not just speak of what Christ did for us on Easter. But then I don't think we need to reserve Christmas sermons for December either. Or Christmas hymns. Or Easter hymns. Those two stories are our cornerstones. Thank you for the reminder of how we should never forget what was given up for us out of love.