Saturday, May 9, 2009
" The Shack" Part Three( More Mysterion Please)
I was thinking about my friend, Harold recently- He was the FIRST Christian brother who tried to tell me about Mysterion. You see , Harold and I were members of a church that was having some struggles( news alert- that happens sometimes) Some disagreements caused a rift between a couple of the Elders- and it was bothering Harold( by the way, I NEVER called him by his first name- he was older than me.. and I AM a southern boy- he was a MR. )Well, One Saturday night I was at Harold's house and we were talking about the recent problems at our church and he remarked, " You Know, we are having Communion at Church tomorrow.. and I really believe that God is going to do something miraculous.. and heal the relationships of those men" You see, Harold KNEW something.. He knew that God does something special for us when we celebrate HIS SUPPER.. it is a nurturing, faith strengthening ordinance- and that God wants to use that time to heal us and to meet with us in a special way.. it's a MYSTERY-mysterion.. or a Holy Secret that God reveals to His people. I did'nt know about "Mysterion".. I thought that Communion was just memorial... an empty symbol that just reminded us of Jesus' sacrifice.. I did NOT know that God wants to use it strengthen, heal , and nurture us.It's not only a Gospel Mystery, holy secret- It's also a Sacrament( more about this later).Thats the problem with so many believers today- they do'nt have a SACRAMENTAL VIEW of the CHURCH- thats why SO MANY are running to " The Shack" and all the books that seem to "bash" organized "religion"... They ARE looking for something that helps them to "connect" with God on a deeper level, they are longing for a "taste" of Heaven in this life, they know that their worship time at the church has not "fed " this hunger... so they run to and fro looking for something else.. they sense that something is mising at "church" and THEY ARE RIGHT.. and We( the Elders) of the local Churches are to Blame.. we have not properly encouraged a Sacramental view of the church. The Word, Sacramentum can refer to a Pledge, a downpayment, a sample, an oath, or a Holy Secret. In Reformed circles, we refer to Baptism and The Lord's Supper as sacraments. Augustine said that they were" Visible signs of an invisible grace" We believe that there is something special that happens when we participate in the sacraments. Remember when Paul told the church that they better be careful about celebrating communion( do'nt be using grape juice... not really.. just kiddin) Paul told them that their improper attitude caused some to "be sick.. and even some have fallen asleep( died)... DEAR READER.. if this was an EMPTY SYMBOL ,.do you think that people would be getting sick and dying??? NO... it is not empty.. it is filled with POWER... and it is one of the ways that God uses to strengthen us, to empower us, and to heal our wounded souls.. we in the Reformed Churches have said that we believe these things .. but we have not shown it by our actions... many in Presbyterian churches in this country celebrate communion only 4 times a year! Is this acting in accordance with the admonition of Jesus to " celebrate this often until I Come" ??Is this consisitent with the teaching that "we are feeding upon Christ SPIRITUALLY" with the Bread and the Cup- If We think "sacramentally" we will begin having Communion more often in our local churches... Believers will be strengthened by God, the "thing" that they have been longing for will be in their hands. as they feed upon Jesus and he gives them more Grace, more power, and a sense of His prescence.THIS IS WHAT"S MISSING... and we ( Elders, Pastors, leaders) are to blame... We MUST TEACH the truth about Communion, and we MUST observe it often- we told people that Worship at the local Church is the time when they will be strengthened and fed... and we have given them only appetizers: A few really upbeat modern sounding "praise songs", some "special music", a little of the Word, and a closing hymn... we leave them hungry...they go away yearning for more and we deny them the great feast that Jesus wants to give them- a SPIRITUAL FEEDING upon his BODY AND BLOOD"( Ok Bible scholars, I am NOT talking about transubstantiation NOR Consubstantiation.. GOOGLE some of this stuff- it will be fun).. NO WONDER people are TIRED of going through the motions. No wonder that they are longing for more... When God's people are FED and strengthened by the Sacraments(along with the WORD, and Prayer), they will experience the "more"... they will have a supernatural sense of HIS prescence..Their souls will be healed... and they will be equipped to "work through" the challenges that we face in loving each other with a forgiving, agape love.... THOSE ELDERS that Harold was praying for??? They eventually reconciled... I Believe the seeds of healing were planted that Lord's Day during Communion.... and Harold???? well.. he went to be with the Lord many years ago... and He is havingTRUE Communion with the One who gave His Body and Blood so that we might be forgiven and live forever... it's a Holy Secret.... but God has told you ALL about it... He spoke to us through His Son many years ago... and he is still speaking ... He is whispering this Holy Secret, this mysterion; to you right now... can you hear Him???