Taking communion is always a powerful act of remembering and confession for the Christian. Last Sunday, January 5, at Cornerstone was no exception.
In our obedience to Christ’s command to “remember” him, when we take of the bread and drink of the cup, we confess our own inability to do anything on our own to create the newness, the shalom, that we crave deep down in our spirits.
During worship at Hamilton Road, Rusty quickly reminded us that we are a people who are downright terrible at keeping the all-too-popular New Year’s resolutions (8% of Americans make and keep them each year); he then proceeded to challenge Cornerstone church with one simple resolution for 2014: to love Jesus with all our hearts and be a better follower of Him this year.
I am utterly convinced that, for those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, not only is solitary devotion to Him expected, but the power to do so is also provided by His Spirit who lives in each of us. This is good news for those of us who find ourselves in the 92% (ok, yes…even for the 8% of you who succeeded at something last year).
If this new beginning will be started and completed by God alone, we must remind ourselves daily, and especially when we remember his body broken and blood poured out for us at Communion, that it is always of God that we have or do anything of eternal value. Even our good attempts, our resolutions to be better versions of last year’s self, will wither if they are done on our own. We don’t need a better version of ourselves…we need an entirely new person; and that is only possible by the healing blood of Jesus Christ.
This Christmas season I read through an Advent reader by one of my spiritual heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (you should google his name if you’ve never heard of him). Early one morning I read one of the most profoundly painful, yet life-giving statements on new beginnings that I have ever heard or read:
People cannot make a new beginning at all; they can only pray for one. where people are on their own and live by their own devices, there is only the old, the past. Only where God is can there be a new beginning. We cannot command God to grant it; we can only pray to God for it. And we can pray only when we realize that we cannot do anything, that we have reached our limit, that someone else must make the new beginning.
– from prison where he awaited execution by the Nazi regime, January 1944
Thank God for new beginnings. Thank God for making us new creations
Lee Cadden, College Pastor