House church

Reality
5/6/2008 8:24:00 PM by: Elsi

A parent came into the school office the other day, clutching a spray of flowers from a tree just outside the door. “Smell that!” she demanded. Obligingly, we did. “It smells beautiful!” the secretary said. “Ah, springtime!” I agreed. She stared at us, clearly astounded at our lack of perception. “It smells just like laundry detergent!” When I was in Alaska, I saw otters in the ocean, lying on their backs, sound asleep, clutching shells in their forepaws. And I thought, “Wow! They look just like they do on TV!” So I’ve been thinking about reality versus perception … what’s real, anyway? I wear a cross necklace. Many people wear the cross as earrings, or a pin, or other jewelry. We display artistic crosses in our homes and churches. C.S. Lewis says—I think it’s in Problem of Pain—that crucifixion was so absolutely hideous that it was several hundred years before Christians could depict it as art. Until then, they knew, from personal experience or hearing first-hand accounts, what a crucifixion actually was like, and there was nothing artistic about it. I think it’s the same with Communion. We go to “big church” and someone stands on the platform and shares insight with us. Then Tim plays quiet, inspirational music while people we know pass bits of cracker and cups of juice on silver trays. Here, we’re sitting around a family table, with people we recently ate supper with. We have bits of bread from Ruth’s kitchen, and grape juice in plastic cups. It’s pleasant and friendly. The original Communion, on the night before Jesus was crucified, was far different. A small room with thirteen sweaty men, worried and tense. A traditional religious dinner. And Jesus, at least, knew what was coming, knew about His death … D. James Kennedy says, “Crucifixion was probably the worst type of punishment ever devised—not only all the preliminaries, the beating and the scourging and so forth. But this type of crucifixion was sort of a slow agonizing death--between the terrible pain coming from the nails being put through, hitting the major nerves in the body, and the suffocation. He would struggle for every breath, to get each breath in His body and to get each breath out. This was sort of a slow writhing between this agonizing pain and suffocation, until He died. In most crucifixions, not that of Jesus, when it got time for the executioner to go home, they would break the lower legs, so the crucified man could no longer push himself up, and he’d suffocate in probably 12 to 15 minutes. … The primary cause of the death of Jesus is awful trauma. A secondary cause of death would be suffocation.” Jesus knew this when He compared His body to the bread, the broken bread. When He compared His blood to spilled wine. And He made those comparisons long before the Last Supper and His death. Listen to these passages from the 6th chapter of John: {1} John 6:35-40 Then 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. But as I told you, you have seen Me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." {2} John 6:48-51 “I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." {3} John 6:52-58 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among th



 

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