Here I am,. Lord…
“Here I am, Lord; no better than anyone here; no more righteous; no more deserving of Christ’s healing grace. Please use me to humbly share the Jesus quality of love in this place, and through this sorry bunch of sinners. Please love the world through each one of us, and use us – use even me – to spread your kind of love throughout this church body and into your world. Amen.”
This year “The Twelfth Day of Christmas” happens to fall on a Sunday. How cool is that! Every gift, every yearning, every confirmation of God’s coming, every celebration, every splash of seasonal inspiration – all wrapped up and presented to God in the context of the community of faith.
We’ll be attending worship in Georgia this morning, at a Methodist church in Greensboro. I really hope they’re serving the Lord’s Supper, so that Rebekah and I can take communion along with our brothers and sisters in Wake Forest, and also in Brandon (and in Pensacola too), as we start the New Year in the context of the redeeming grace of the bread and the wine.
Communion really is the perfect way to bring together all 12 Days of Christmas, and the beginning of 2014, and the meeting of the community of faith – all in one over-arching celebration.
communion at WFPC
BREAD & WINE: The 12 Days of Christmas song highlights the many and varied gifts God continues to shower on his children. Each one of those gifts comes to its crescendo in Jesus. Communion brings all of this together. The bread and the wine highlight God’s faithfulness and generosity in the context of the community where we are called to serve one another.
I’ve written about this before, and I’ll come back to it again and again; Christianity is best experienced in community. That’s how – and why – we were created, and that’s how God continues to reach us and work through us
All the more reason for the Christian community to be characterized by mutual support, by encouragement, and by self-giving love.
JOHN 3:16: Many of this weekend’s high-profile sporting events featured some fan holding a big sign with the ubiquitous John 3:16 reference: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life….”
That’s great. More people need to read John’s Gospel and understand it. But I believe one of the best ways to understand John 3:16 is to read John 3:17, right in the same breath and without a pause:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
CALM DOWN, PEOPLE! I think it’s important to acknowledge – again – that there’s way too much condemning going on in the “Christian” world right now.
- Way too much condemning.
- Too much, “I’m right – you’re wrong.”
- Too much, “I’m Bible-believing and you’re not.”
- Too much, “If the rest of you don’t interpret these certain verses the way I do, then I’ll go start my own church and take as many people with me as I can.”
- Too much judging.
THAT’s NOT THE JESUS STYLE! God didn’t send Jesus into this world with condemnation in mind – and God isn’t asking us to do any condemning either! God sent Jesus into the world to save the world – and Jesus commissions us – very clearly – to introduce the world to that saving love.
It’s The Twelfth Day of Christmas today. Why not use this opportunity to turn around and offer God the same kind of gift as God offers the world? Let’s give God the gift of loving one another with the Jesus kind of love, the love that doesn’t condemn, but – instead – invites?
So I’m challenging each one of us to do this on The Twelfth Day of Christmas: Give God the great gift of loving all God’s children with the Jesus kind of love.
Give God the great gift of loving all God’s children with the Jesus kind of love.
Go to church today.
Go to church and look around at all the people there. You’ll notice they are sinners, just like me and just like you. And you will notice that they are sinners who have come into the presence of God – and the presence of you – to take the cup, and the bread, and to say:
- “Here I am, Lord; no better than anyone here; no more righteous; no more deserving of Christ’s healing grace. Please use me to humbly share the Jesus quality of love in this place, and through this sorry bunch of sinners. Please love the world through each one of us, and use us – use even me – to spread your kind of love throughout this church body and into your world. Amen.”