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As Though For the Last Time

(a meditation for Maundy Thursday 2019, based on Luke 22:7-23)

In his introduction of a booklet detailing the preparations and liturgy for an interfaith Passover Celebration, Gabe Huck writes the following: “There is a time when time stands still, motionless.  There is a time in religious life when time becomes eternal, beyond recount, beyond hour divisions.  There is a time when we leave the present to go back in memory, feeling and prayer to the past, to a past that is the very ground of our being.  There is a time when we return to the sources.  Such a time is Passover.”

And, might I add here, such a time is Holy Week, and in particular, Maundy Thursday.

It’s on nights and during services such as these that I am reminded of just how much of what we do in our worship is a matter of history, tradition and even, dare I say it… routine.  Take the way that we “do” communion in the church; that is, how we share in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  It is a part of our worship that steeped with ritual rooted in a very specific and appropriate liturgy that dates from the very beginnings of our Christian faith.  From the need for prayerful confession and pardon prior to coming to the table, through the so-called “words of institution” as spoken by Jesus himself, to the very ways that we actually partake of the bread and wine; these are things that happen – and have always happened (!) – just about every time we come to share in the bread and the cup.  With some minor variations, you see, in every church tradition, in every local congregation, in every “where two or more are gathered” amongst the faithful there is a similar sense of continuity and tradition in our communion; to the point where sometimes I fear it risks becoming something commonplace in our life together.

But not tonight.

Tonight, it’s different; tonight is for us that time when time truly “stands still, motionless,” a time when we do “leave the present to go back in memory,” coming together in humble imitation of a Passover Celebration long ago; of a truly holy meal that was the first and in a very real way the last of its kind.

Actually, as Luke records the story, at least leading up to that that fateful night there was nothing particularly unusual about this Passover meal – the seder – which was and is amongst Jews the festive celebration of the Exodus from Egypt and “God’s redemptive liberation of Israel from slavery and spiritual misery,” (from “The Passover Celebration”), a huge feast built upon the remembrance of things past and an expression of true faith.  It was also a celebration largely shared at home amongst family and friends; and so, like everyone else who was in Jerusalem that week, Jesus and his disciples would most definitely have shared in such a table celebration. So of course there would be a great deal of preparation involved and lots of ritual throughout, which is why much s said about Peter and John being sent to find the “man carrying a jar of water,” and going to “the large room upstairs” where “they prepared the Passover meal.”  It was tradition; something that’s still done by faithful Jews the world over.

But this time, you see, it was different.  To begin with, Jesus makes a point of saying how much he’d been looking forward to sharing this Passover meal with them “before I enter my time of suffering,” [The Message] and how it would be the last one they’d eat together until they’d do so together in the Kingdom of God!  “I’ll not drink wine again” until that Kingdom comes.  And then, again after having given thanks and broken the bread according to tradition, Jesus gave it to his disciples and said, “This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  Same thing after supper with the cup:  “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.”

Suffering?  A last meal?  A new covenant written in blood? One thing was for certain; this wasn’t the usual liturgy employed at a Passover celebration!  And then there was all of Jesus’ talk about betrayal, and how the Son of Man was going down a path that had already been marked out, “but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!”  You have to wonder what the disciples were thinking at that moment; I mean, it’s not like Jesus hadn’t already spoken of how the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, but here?  Now?  At the very moment we’re gathering to feast and rejoice at God’s providence and redemptive power for his people Israel, what do you even mean by suggesting  the Son of Man is to be betrayed?  Who would ever… who could ever do something like that?

It was unsettling, to say the very least, and it’s no wonder that as Luke tells the story, almost immediately the disciples start squabbling a bit amongst themselves and then, of course, Peter – good ol’ Peter – offers up his verbal assurance that he would never, ever betray Jesus, even as Jesus predicts that this denial would, in fact, happen not once but three times!  All at once this Passover celebration had become something different, and I have to imagine that in those final moments of that Maundy Thursday evening – though they didn’t yet have a clue as to just how much things were about to change forever, and even less why – somewhere down deep in their hearts the disciples knew that they were all together sharing this sacred meal in the same time-honored way that they’d always done for the last time.

And they could not have possibly articulated this, but I also wonder if when Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them – just before the betrayal; before the denials of one and the desertion of many; before the arrest and the scourging, the jeers and mocking; before the cries for his execution; before they nailed his hands and feet to a wooden cross; before the hours and hours of agonizing pain and suffering as the life drained out of him; before he finally breathed his last; just before everything on earth and heaven shifted forever – I wonder if in that singular moment of “communion” offered to them by their Master and friend Jesus if perhaps time stood still for the disciples, motionless; in anticipation of eternity entering in.

I wonder.

In a few moments, you and I will return to feast at the Lord’s Table, to once again know his presence in broken bread and in a shared cup.  And though tonight we’ll do so in a way different than how we usually share communion in our worship here, nonetheless, we’ll be following a liturgy and tradition that’s been ours for generations as the Church of Jesus Christ.  So in many ways, tonight should be no different than any other time we eat a piece of bread and share a tiny sip of wine from a common cup…

…except tonight it is different.

Tonight we remember the night long ago when this holy meal was shared the first time; how it was given, and what Jesus said about it, and how the disciples responded and what it all meant, especially as we remember everything that was to follow. We remember how praise and celebration gave way to betrayal and desertion; how “hosanna” became “crucify,” and how the claim that “I will never deny you” becomes “I don’t know the man;” and ultimately, we are reminded of how the sins of all humanity are atoned by the sacrifice of the divine.  Tonight, in the bread and the wine, we’ll remember all that happened on that fateful night; but also, if we’re remembering correctly and well,  we’ll also recall how we were there when they crucified our Lord and how, in so many ways, in our weakness, shame and utter humanity, we still are.

There’s nothing routine or commonplace about this meal we’re about to share, beloved.  This is no less than the gift of a holy meal, one that reminds us of whose we are, and what we have been given, now and eternally, by grace and infinite love. So let us come to the table; but not out of a sense of tradition or routine, nor because it’s what’s expected of us.  On this night of nights, let us come to this holy feast with open and willing hearts, ready to receive all that our Lord is so wanting to give to us;  let us approach this table as though we are coming to this meal for the very first time… and also the last.

Thanks be to God in Jesus Christ our Savior.

AMEN.

c. 2019  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

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Posted by on April 18, 2019 in Communion, Holy Week, Jesus, Lent

 

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When the Stones Shout Out

(a sermon for April 14, 2019, Palm Sunday, based on Luke 19:28-40 and Philippians 2:5-11)

There are just some moments in life for which nothing else will do but loud, joyous, full-throated, totally spontaneous yet wholly intentional, and ultimately unbridled shouts of praise!

The Red Sox win the World Series; the Patriots win the Super Bowl… again (!); or you’re at a concert and you’ve just heard your favorite singer give the most amazing musical performance ever.  Or it’s that moment you suddenly know, without any shadow of any doubt, that you’re in love and you “don’t care who knows it (!),” or it’s what happens when you get the news you’re going to be parents – or grandparents (!) – or maybe it’s that singular, once in a lifetime,  experience of revelation when all at once and maybe just for an instant, everything in your life makes perfect sense!  But whatever it is, understand that more than just a rousing cheer what I’m talking about here is this instinctive, primal, even primordial need and compulsion to cry out for joy!  It’s the praise that emanates from head, heart and soul, and it’s quite literally wired into our DNA:  Theodore J. Wardlaw of Austin Presbyterian Seminary in Texas writes that even babies know that kind of praise.  “She doesn’t know her own name; she doesn’t know the name of God; she cannot walk and she cannot talk; but she knows even at that early age that – with the beginning of dawn – the only appropriate thing to do is to sing a baby song of praise.”

Actually, scripture is filled with examples of that kind of joyous praise: the Psalmist using every imaginable instrument – from “lute and harp” to “loud clanging cymbals” – in order to proclaim, “Let everything that breathes praise the LORD!” (150:3-6); Mary reacting to the news of the Christ Child growing in her womb, “’My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’” (Luke 1:46-47); or even the awe struck reaction of good ol’ “Doubting” Thomas when he finally understood that the Risen Christ was standing right before him:  “’My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).  Once again, it is in us to praise; but even more than this, as Wardlaw goes on to say, all this seems to suggest “that praise lies beneath everything else as nothing less than the vigorous intentionality of God… because nothing is more appropriate or more timely than praise.”

And that, beloved, is in good part what the “triumphal entry” of Palm Sunday is all about.

Now this account of the Palm Sunday parade along the streets of Jerusalem is one of a handful of stories that appear in all four of the gospels; which tells us, first of all, just how important of an event it was in the telling of the story of Jesus’ life and ministry and most especially in how it figures into everything else that is about to unfold.  This is, at least in a storytelling sense, the true beginning of the Passion story; so it’s significant in that sense alone.  It’s also kind of an unusual story where Jesus is concerned, as it does seem at first glance to be “the one departure from Jesus’ aversion to acclaim.” (Philip Yancey, “The Jesus I Never Knew.”) What with all the Hosanna shouting and the adoring crowds spreading clothes and tree branches across the road, it’s to say the least a unique moment; for “though Jesus usually recoiled from such displays of fanaticism, this time he let them yell.”

In fact, did you notice something about Luke’s version of this story we shared this morning?  For one thing, there’s not a palm or even a “Hosanna” to be found!  In this version, though there is reference made to people “spreading their cloaks on the road,” as well as on the back of the colt on which Jesus was riding (and we do get the account as to circumstances how that colt was acquired), as Luke tells the story you really don’t get any sense that there were palm branches being waved in the air, nor is there any reference to a “happy throng” of children dancing ahead of the approaching Messiah!

And yet, despite the conspicuous absence of, as the song goes, the “green palms and blossoms gay” that was part and parcel of “the festal preparation,” there is no absence of utter joy and unbridled praise, starting from the very moment that Jesus was “approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives” down into the city of Jerusalem and “the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power they had seen, saying ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’”   It’s funny, you know; a phrase that we use a lot today would seem to apply in this circumstance: that whole thing appeared to happen organically; but the truth of it that Jesus’ disciples just “did what came naturally,” [Wardlaw] and so did everyone else!   The closer this “triumphal entry” came to the city itself, the more people there were who were moved to join them; and the more people who gathered along the city streets or who followed on behind, or who ran on ahead to lay down their cloaks for a makeshift royal carpet and yes, to wave some palm branches in the air in royal tribute to us, the louder the shouting became!  In that moment of grand celebration and of prophetic fulfillment, “They sensed, somewhere in their guts, that nothing was more appropriate or timely” – or absolutely required at that moment (!) – than for them to burst forth shouts of praise!

And you know what happened next; it was so joyous, so spontaneous and uncontrollable, so filled with praise and thanksgiving unto God and the King who comes in his name, and perhaps most of all,  so very, very loud that immediately the powers that be, that is the gathered Pharisees, had to put a stop to it.  And so they went to Jesus – actually, in the true fashion of Pharisees in every place and time they probably sent a committee (!) – and in the name of all things ordered and correct, they told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!” [The Message]  Order them to stop…. Now!

And to this, Jesus simply responds – and I have to imagine it’s with a sad smile and a shake of the head – “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

It’s an amazing response; one that affirms that what was happening that morning on those streets of Jerusalem was not only appropriate, it was necessary; this was praise that needed to be expressed, the clear vision of God’s glory being proclaimed with singular and overwhelming intensity!  And that’s how we usually read that verse, isn’t it; that you can tell the “rabble to be quiet” all you want, but you can’t stop the praising.  Tell this crowd to stop its praising, and the very rocks that line the walls of this sacred city of Jerusalem will do it for them!  Don’t you see, you can’t stop it:  no matter what you do, you Pharisees, the shouting will continue and all of creation will keep on singing and praising God’s holy name: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Hosanna in the highest!

And you know, really, that should have been the end of it right there; at this point, the Pharisees should have simply gone home grumbling, the celebration should have continued unabated and there should have been all rejoicing at the coming of God’s Messiah. Or at least that’s how it should have been. But of course, as we know, there was more to it than that.

It’s been pointed out by some biblical scholars that along with the idea that the crowd’s shouting could not possibly have been silenced, Jesus’ words about the stones crying also may well have been a reference to some words of judgment spoken by the prophet Habakkuk that says that going against God would make “the very stones… cry out from the wall… the plaster respond[ing] from the woodwork.” [2:11]. There’s also a passage from the Old Testament Book of Joshua that speaks of a stone serving as a witness to the faithlessness of God’s people [24:27]  So now we have this incredible faith-filled proclamation of God’s providence and salvation, and what does Jesus say to the Pharisees who would shut it all down, and who would condemn Jesus, the very one who comes in the name of God, to death, “even death on a cross?”

He says, even in the silence the stones would shout out… but this time in judgment.

It’s interesting, you know; and as many times as I return to this story and begin my own walk of faith and discipleship on this so-named “holy” week I can scarcely wrap my mind and heart around it: how on Sunday there’s this huge crowd waving palms and shouting their hosannas unto Jesus, the one known to them, proclaimed by them as their Messiah, an yet come Friday morning, the same crowds are angrily calling for his crucifixion.  As many times as we’ve heard the story I can’t even begin to fathom of how Jesus – the one who was and is our teacher, our healer and our friend, the one who has brought light and life into the world – would be betrayed and abandoned and denied by those closest to him; or how he was so angrily – and easily (!) – mocked, beaten and condemned to a horrible death on a cross, a tortuous death reserved for the worst of criminals.  All this, and so much more than this, even as we all stand again at the foot of the cross, remembering his agony and suffering even as he spoke aloud to those who had condemned him, saying “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23:34]

It’s the journey we all share – the inevitable movement from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday to Good Friday – but I don’t know about you, but as we draw ever nearer now to the cross there’s a question I cannot help but ask:  Where’s the shouting and praise now?  When did “hosanna in the highest” become “crucify him?” And was I, am I, there “when they crucified my Lord?”  What happens when in my silence the stones shout out?

It’s a somber and difficult question, to be sure; but beloved, it’s an important one as today we consider who Jesus truly is and what even now he offers us.  I hoping you really heard the song we sang during the offertory, about how there “Ain’t No Rock Gonna Shout for Me,” because not only is it a great old spiritual, but the words of the chorus say it all:  “Rocks, keep silent!  Jesus comes to set me free.  Rocks, keep silent! I’m gonna shout in victory!  Rocks, keep silent! Jesus reigns in majesty.  Ain’t no rock gonna shout for me.”  It’s a song that not only reminds us on this day of days who Jesus is and what he came to do, but it also tells us that if we fail to give him our praises, if we turn away from him in his hour of need, if we deny him not only with our words but by our lives then all that will be left is the sound of the stones shouting in our place; each and all bearing witness to our silence amidst sin and despair.

Beloved, on this day of all days, as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ we cannot stay silent.  We cannot let our praises go unsung!  Because, if I might quote Theodore Wardlaw’s words one more time, this isn’t “pollyanna praise, it’s not pie-in-the-sky praise, not whistling past the graveyard praise, not something sweet place among us just to make the world more beautiful praise.  It’s praise  that instead gives us vision, that enables us to see the world more clearly,” and it’s praise that reminds us that in the name of the one whose name we praise we are rescued, we are forgiven, we are redeemed and we are made alive, now and forever.

Ain’t no rock gonna shout that for me! How could it ever?

We are not meant to be silent, beloved… we are meant to sing and to shout and to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus our Christ!  It’s as simple and as profound and, as we stand beneath the cross of Jesus, as agonizing as that.

So… let our praises be heard!  And as Paul proclaimed in joy and praise, let the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus, “who, though he was in the form of God… humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross… so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the eart, and every tongue” – every tongue (!) – “should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Thanks be to God!

Amen and AMEN!

c. 2019 Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2019 in Holy Week, Jesus, Lent, Sermon

 

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Filled With the Fragrance

(a sermon for April 7. 2019, the 5th Sunday in Lent, based on John 12:1-8)

The smell of a field of wildflowers in summer, or of a pine forest in early springtime…  

…that distinct whiff of a breeze coming off the ocean at low tide;

…the aroma of baking bread,  an apple pie fresh out of the oven, and, oh yes, the turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day (!);

…the distinct fragrance of wood smoke coming from cedar kindling burning in the fireplace;

…even the faintest scent of the perfume that your grandmother used to wear, or of the “Sir Walter Raleigh” pipe tobacco that was your father’s favorite back in the day;

…sometimes that’s all it takes!  Years and years may pass; you might live a thousand miles away, and maybe it even involves people and memories that you haven’t thought about in… forever!  But then, you’re out somewhere and catch one whiff that one familiar smell… and you’re back: back at Grammie and Grampie’s house when you were just a little kid; back at the hunting camp “shooting the bull” with your father; back out on the beach watching your own children running around, dodging the seagulls and building sand castles. You know what I’m talking about here; for each one of us, there are bound to be some specific fragrances that we forever associate with special times, places and people!

And it’s no mere sentimentality; there’s actually scientific precedent for this.  People who study such things tell us that while the memory of words and logic and data go to the so-called “thinking” part of the brain, the memories involved with our five senses – most especially the sense of smell – go to the emotional part of the brain which is known as the amygdala. That’s why the smell of certain foods will always remind us of home; and that’s why even the hint of that one long forgotten but oh-so familiar fragrance brings back a lingering, very precious memory of that loved one and of what he or she meant to us.  What happens in such a moment, you see, is that the fragrance enters the nostrils, but then it fills the heart.

Actually, you know, in reading our text for this morning, I wonder if, years later, there was a moment when Mary – perhaps she was out in the marketplace gathering food for the day and there was this lingering scent from someone on the street who passed by her, or maybe there was just the fleeting aroma of something, someone off in the distance – I wonder if suddenly Mary stopped, breathed in deeply, and then said to herself, “Jesus…”  I wonder if there was a time when Lazarus – himself having experienced what it was to have been brought from death to life – if he again smelled that perfume and remembered where that glory had come from and who had brought it forth.  Or, for that matter, what about Martha, busily serving her guests at the house in Bethany, or the other disciples who were no doubt nearby when Mary broke the alabaster jar and began to anoint Jesus’ feet; was there a time when they once again smelled the sweet smell of perfume that filled the room that day and thus immediately were transported back to the scene, perhaps lost in the memory and sighing a bit as they remembered; perhaps even whispering aloud, “Oh yes… that was the beginning, wasn’t it?”

Like I said before, sometimes the fragrance is all it takes to truly remember.

The thing about this passage from John’s gospel is that it’s deceptively simple.  Coming as it does after the raising of Lazarus and just before the “Triumphal Entry” of Palm Sunday, this account of a dinner at Lazarus’ house almost seems like a bit of exposition; a transition, if you will, into the events of the last week of Jesus’ life.  I mean, on the face of it, it’s a dinner party, isn’t it; and with everything that implies:  good food and conversation shared amongst friends; hospitality to the “max” courtesy of the ever-diligent Martha, and a warm, relaxed atmosphere that lingers well into the night.  But then this thing happens that nobody’s expecting: Mary takes this container of perfume made of pure nard – which, by the way, is this very aromatic amber-colored oil derived from plants grown in the Himalayas, of all places; and which was so expensive that scholars estimate that it not only represented a year’s worth of wages in Jesus’ day, but in today’s currency might have had a value of as much as $10,000 (!) – and then proceeds to pour out the lot of it (likely a pint or so) so that she might anoint Jesus’ feet, wiping the excess oil and its perfume with her long, flowing hair!

It is a gesture as extravagant – and as sensual – as it sounds; John, in fact, makes a distinct point of saying that in this moment Lazarus’ “house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  And it’s an amazing moment; though, in all fairness, it’s also a bit confusing.  First of all, why wouldn’t Mary simply wash Jesus’ feet, as was customary in terms of offering hospitality to one’s guests?  And if she were going to be anointing Jesus, why anoint his feet rather than his head (it’s worth noting, by the way, that in Matthew and Mark’s version of this story, it is Jesus’ head that’s anointed with this precious perfume, which makes Mary’s actions here all the more striking)?  And quite honestly, wasn’t what Mary did there rather impulsive and more than just a little exorbitant?  John does make it very clear here about Judas’ questionable motives in making his comment about how the money wasted by such an act could have benefited the poor; yet in all honesty, we can scarcely blame him for casting doubt on Mary’s good sense!  Admittedly, the whole thing does come off as a bit over the top, if not totally unnecessary… as the question becomes, why?  What was Mary doing?

Well, part of our answer comes from Jesus himself:  “’Leave her alone,’” Jesus says in response to Judas’ angry dismissal of what Mary has done. “’She bought it…’” (that is, this very costly perfume) “’…so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.’”  She bought it for his burial!  That’s very interesting; because not only would this explain the anointing of Jesus’ feet as opposed to his head (since in Jesus’ time, the anointing of a body for burial always began with the hands and feet, those places where the signs of death are often first detected), but it also suggests that Mary knew what was coming.  The Rev. Dr. Janet Hunt, in a pair of commentaries she’s written on this passage, writes that “Mary may have been the only disciple in the room who truly comprehended what was to come in the next days. And while one would be hard pressed to say that Mary was comfortable with this certainty that Jesus would die,” nonetheless, she anoints his feet as was – or would soon be – the custom.  “Perhaps there also was nothing else for Mary to do by then,” Hunt goes on to say.  “Perhaps this was all that was left – for her to kneel before Jesus, anoint his feet, and then to wipe them with her hair.  Perhaps there was nothing more for her to do but to do as she did: holding herself still in the deep acknowledgement of the gift of the one who was right before her.”

And so it was; this gesture of true faith, of exorbitant, extravagant, grace-filled act of utter thankfulness and of truly sacrificial love, offered up in fullness in anticipation of an infinitely greater sacrifice to come… and not only was the room was filled with its beautiful fragrance but also and most especially by an all-encompassing awareness of what it represented. In one sense, it was a memory yet to be! It’s no wonder that in Matthew’s account of this story, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” (26:13)  And so it was.

So, friends, how about you?  Do you remember?

I think it’s safe to say that our particular tradition of faith does not usually include the fragrance of candles or burning incense as part of our shared experience of worship; in fact, I must confess that quite often what I smell the most up here on a Sunday morning is coffee brewing out in the Fellowship Hall!  No, our “act and attitude” of worship and devotion tends toward the sense of sight and sound, along with the occasional tender touch of care and compassion; and, might I add, on a Sunday such as this, the taste of a piece of broken bread and a sip of wine from a shared cup.  So maybe this room isn’t overflowing with the scent of $10,000 perfume; but that doesn’t mean it isn’t filled with the fragrance of love.  It’s there in our remembrance of what Mary did in that act of singular devotion; it’s there in the memory of how Jesus turned his heart toward Jerusalem and willingly submitted himself to death – even death on a cross (!) – so that we might have life abundant and eternal because “God so loved the world.” (John 3:16)  It’s there as we offer up our own precious gifts of faith and love for the sake of that world and of the people whom our Lord loves beyond measure and in a way unending.  And it’s there in in our worship and praise of the one who gave his all to us; in the words of Dennis Ignatius, Malaysian ambassador and Pentecostal Christian, “When we lift our hands in praise and worship, we break spiritual jars of perfume over Jesus.  The fragrance of our praise fills the whole earth and touches the heart of God.”

I like to think that as we worship together, as we sing songs of faith and love, as we pray for another and for a hurting world, what we do breaks spiritual jars of perfume in this place!  And I hope and pray that the same  will happen now as we come to our moment of “holy” communion; it’s time for our table meal with the Lord, that we somehow experience his presence in bread and wine, perchance to truly remember the sacrifice that he has made – and continues to make – on our behalf.  As we so often do in this congregation, in a moment we will sing, we’ll pray, we’ll pass the plate from person to person as we take and eat and drink, and we’ll be thankful for what we’ve been given… but the best part of it all?  As we do, the air around us will be filled with the sweet fragrance of his love and power; a fragrance that we pray will linger in our hearts and lives today and tomorrow and on every day that comes; a fragrance that will continue to remind us that we are ever and always loved.

So breathe it in, beloved; breathe it all in…

And may our thanks be to God.

Amen and AMEN.

c. 2019  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2019 in Communion, Jesus, Lent, Love, Sermon

 

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