Sunday, June 13, 2004

Communion Notes

I spoke today at church. Here's basically what I said.

What a week. Have you ever had a week where you got everyone upset? It seems like I was getting everyone on my case. We had a meeting, I was frustrated with some things and let some things fly which hurt a few people. And it turns out that we wouldn't be able to talk it through until the end of the week. And I really felt the burden of that all week.

When you are upset with someone or someone is upset with you, isn't it hard spending time with them? It's difficult to look someone in the eye really. Giving in any way -- affection, hospitality, even politeness -- becomes a chore.

What is happening is a spiritual separation. A wall or bitter root will form if it is not dealt with. And if you think about it long enough, you come to understand that any significant separation like this between people affects your relationship with God. How can we be reconciled to God, who we don't see, when we cannot be reconciled to people, who we do see?

What solves this? Looking to the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In one singular instant in time, God reconciled the world to himself. Centuries of prophecy and history culminate to this very event.

At the cross we come to understand that it takes one party to sacrifice in order to bridge that gap. And with God, we see that he has done that, through Jesus.

It was a costly sacrifice, but God considered it worth it. With the cross, God is saying, "I want to be with you."

When you are at odds with someone else, you start to realize that it requires a sacrifice as well to bridge the gap. Someone needs to initiate, someone needs to say, "hey, can we talk about this face to face?" Someone needs the courage to believe that it can be worked out. Someone needs to have enough faith to see that something good can come out of it.

And we see that this is what God has done -- when we were still sinners, he came to us to be reconciled. God was courageous enough to initiate it. God had enough faith to believe that something incredible will come out of this. He thinks we, he thinks YOU, are worth it. He wants to spend time with you, he thinks you are special.

With that, we have the strength to go and be reconciled with each other.

Stuff I didn't end up using:
Reconciliation and friendship with God really form the basis of all rational and true enjoyment. -- S. Miller.

Reconciliation defined:
The reestablishing of cordial relations; restoration to harmony; renewal of friendship. Reduction to congruence or consistency; removal of inconsistency; harmony.

synonyms: accord, peace, appeasement
antonyms: deadlock, draw, stalemate, standoff, tie, antagonism, disagreement, discord, dissension, dissidence, friction, strife

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