House church

Hungry?
4/22/2008 3:39:57 PM by: Elsi

Thinking about Communion today, I was struck by one of the songs Tim led us in Sunday, “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” by Dawn Rogers and Eric Wyse. The chorus runs: You are the One that we praise; You are the One we adore. You give the healing and grace Our hearts always hunger for, Oh, our hearts always hunger for! From there, my mind wandered to “Breathe” by Michael W. Smith: This is my daily bread … Your very word, spoken to me. And I, I’m desperate for You! And then I checked to see what chapter we were studying this evening, and read the beginning of Matthew 12: At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of human needs. At the top is “self-actualization”—philosophy, art, music, and beauty. Below that is esteem, with belonging another level down. Prior to that are safety needs: clothing, shelter, security. And the most basic needs are the physical ones: breathing, eating, drinking. If those aren’t met, there’s no energy available for anything else. The Bible speaks clearly of God’s meeting our need for actual, physical food and drink. For example, in Nehemiah 9:15: In their hunger You gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst You brought them water from the rock. And the Psalmist reminds us, in Psalm 107:9: For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Eating and drinking are an excellent picture of God’s providence and promises, therefore. Look at the invitation in Isaiah 55: Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. This must be why God uses eating and drinking as a picture of His love, grace, and mercy, without which we cannot live. He says, in Deuteronomy 8:3: He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Psalm 42:2—My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 63:1—O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Matthew 5:6—Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. And in John 6:35—Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty. We meet here at Paul and Ruth’s house each week, and we start with a fellowship meal of soup and, significantly, bread. Yet that meal is separate from our time of Communion. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul tells the church not to try to fill their stomachs with the Communion food, and reminds them (and us) to examine our hearts and actions before partaking: Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. Pause a moment to think about the awesomeness of what this bit of bread and swallow of grape juice actually stands for, what Jesus did that gives this ritual meaning. For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."


 

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