Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meeting Jesus

Last night I was part of a church service where a formal liturgical communion was administered.  I grew up with formal liturgical communion.  Full on.  45 minutes.  It was a Holy thing.

There was explanation, responsive readings, prayers and words of consecration.  The whole thing.

So you understand, this was in a Pentecostal Church but was administered by an Anglican priest.

One of the things that struck me was how manifest Jesus presence was in this.  I don't want to get into the discussion of how all that happens.  I only know this, that when communion, the Eucharistic sacrament is administered with the right reverence and recognition, Jesus shows up.

I grew up in a liturgical environment, but for the last 33 years I have been part of the Charismatic move of God.  Yet I have always recognized that something is missing in our expressions.  The recognition of the Holiness of Communion and the Presence of Jesus in the sacrament.

Robert Schimdgall was the Pastor of Calvary Church in Naperville IL. It was an Assembly of God church and Pastor Schmidgall was a presbyter in the denomination.  I loved that man.  Before he died in a conversation he said, "I am convinced that we do not understand what is happening in communion.  It's more than a memorial. I don't agree with what we teach in the AG.  It's an encounter with Jesus.  We meet him in Communion". 

Paul the Apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 11
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood[d] of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner[e] eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s[f] body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

There have been a few in Pentecost who have captured the truth of Jesus manifest presence in communion, Perry Stone is one who wrote a book called "The Meal That Heals".  

Of course Catholics have held to theology that caused all kinds of strange events.  If a drop of wine was spilled on the carpet... that carpet had to be taken up and preserved.

As much as we poke at this extreme, we must  re examine the other extreme, how flippantly we treat this encounter in our churches.  How we run folks thru the line without a clear examination of ourselves; without a genuine comprehension of what is really going on.  The Holy is missed completely.

Last Sunday morning I had a vision during the communion "sheep dip" that tries to pass for the sacrament (it's the least spiritual thing we do in church sometimes). In the vision Jesus was trying to get thru all the procedure and program but was shoved aside by those delivering the elements. No encounter took place. I may refrain from taking communion because of this shallow administration.   It goes against what Paul warns about in 1 Corinthians 11.

Here's where we have gone wrong.  We treat Communion as something we plug in because we should. We know the instruction.  So to punch our church program ticket, we  do "something", even if it meaningless.  That is the epitome of a church program.  If you hate programs, as I do, you will hate this even more.

I have advised, prodded, encouraged, warned and admonished church leadership I am able speak to about this.  I keep saying, "have communion, but make it special, rare, Holy".  It should be focused on the uniqueness of the sacrament. Preach only on the sacrament. Set the table in the center of the whole service and spend the full service administering the sacrament.  This can be a place where Jesus touches people for healing, for deliverance, for salvation, for comfort, for hope.  Hands should be laid on. Sometimes prophetic words given.  Help people comprehend what is happening.  AND to make sure it doesn't become mundane, make it less frequent.  Much less frequent. Once a month is great plenty.  And it should be ONE SERVICE.  In some church traditions, once a quarter.  Every week is wrong.  You can't do what needs to happen in a weekly weak program.

The weekly communion app as practiced in most churches is weak and the people are weak because of it..  It makes what should be an encounter with the Holy, something to get done because we do this every week.  You know, TIME.

And nothing happens.  No one meets Jesus.

Last night when the bread was placed on my tongue, the priest laid his hands on me, stopped looked in my eyes and I met Jesus.  I knew HE showed up to lay his hands on me.  The priest was just a vehicle.  It was the communion.  Jesus spoke to me... not in words.

I love to encounter Jesus in the Gifts of the Spirit, in worship, in Spiritual songs and tongues, in mercy, in the prophetic, in the expulsion of evil and invasion of good, in all the ways Jesus shows up.

It's just that last night, I met Him again, I have missed that encounter. It has been a very long time since I have had real communion.

Can we cut out the programs and start allowing Jesus to manifest in this?

That is a prophetic prod you need to hear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your right ! the warning in communion is deadly serious. Attention and proper teaching must be given to the subject it may well take an entire service. Thanks for the testimony very encouraging :)