Posts Tagged ‘Communion’

Communion (10)

February 8th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 3:16

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (NIV)

It is the groanings of the Holy Spirit still dwelling with us in our all too human struggles.

You may remember this quote from Tom Wright:

First, the obvious retort. ‘It doesn’t look like that to me!’ Most of us, thinking even of those Christians to whom we look up as examples, find it difficult to imagine that this person really is a walking Temple, a place where heaven and earth meet. Most of us have even more difficulty thinking of ourselves in that way. We certainly find it hard, looking at all the tragic nonsense that has marred the history of Christianity, to see the church as a whole in this light. But the counter-retort is equally obvious to anyone who knows the writings of St Paul. He could see the failings of the church, and of individual Christians, just as much as we can. And it is in one of the letters where those failings are most embarrassingly obvious – the first letter to Corinth – where he makes the claim. You corporately, he says to the whole church, are God’s Temple, and God’s Spirit dwells within you (3.16). That’s why the unity of the church matters so much. Your bodies, he says to them one by one, are Temples of the Holy Spirit within you (6.19). That’s why bodily holiness, not least sexual holiness, matters so much. Could it be that we need to recapture Paul’s bracing teaching about our vocation to be Temples of the Holy Spirit?

That’s why we can read these scriptures and have hope and with patient seeking continue on the high calling to one day reflect the complete communion that is within God.

Gary Deddo described the life of God that we will enjoy after the resurrection as one of ministry. He defined ministry as a gift exchange. That’s what we are learning with Christ to participate in.

Message for the Day

Communion (9)

February 7th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day:1 Corinthians 12 :12-26

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.(NIV)

We are all familiar with this section of scripture. But again we see the emphasis on the Holy Spirit.

14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Being different is part of the diversity that makes up our communal reality. Our differences can be age, gender, socio economic position, education , talents , opportunities, ethnicity, our way of thinking, learning and analyzing things. But all that difference is healthy for a truly effective body. Each person is needed.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

Now this is where L’Arche becomes a practical reality of this. I sometimes feel we can actually misunderstand these scriptures.

We have a human tendency to be condescending –displaying a form of pity and tolerance for those we perceive as weaker than ourselves, or less knowledgeable or understanding, or competent. While that danger is always present in L’Arche, that is not the challenge. The key thoughts is equality because we recognize the other person’s gift is what we need in a mutual receiving and giving.

So if we as a church have chosen the word communion to describe our aspirations, then I can see why we also added the word grace. Because of ourselves this is impossible. The word grace should tell us that of ourselves we will be but a pale imitation of something beyond our reach.

Message for the Day

Communion (8)

February 6th, 2011
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Scripture of the Day:1 Corinthians 12:4 -7

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (NIV)

This precedes Paul’s instruction about the body. You actually see the communion of God working: same Spirit; same Lord, same God. So if the Spirit is involved, the Father and Son are equally involved. And notice the purpose of their working: it is the common good.

This meant that the church in Corinth should see that all the factions and divisions about who was superior actually were not of the Spirit.

This also means that if we are responding to the lead of the Spirit we must challenge our self –centred relationships we have with other people.

So with the challenge of L’Arche in mind, let’s see examine our response to one another.

Message for the Day