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ON THE HOLY COMMUNION

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작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-12-29 22:45 조회910회 댓글0건

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<1 Corinthians 11: 23-26>

 

 The grape juice that we often use for our Communion ceremonies is Welch’s grape juice.  Do you know how this product was developed?

 A dentist named Thomas Welch founded this product.  In 1869, he was serving as the Communion Steward for the First Methodist Church of Vineland in New Jersey. 

 

 One day during the summer of that year, an incident happened where guests drank all the wine in Welch’s house that was set aside to be used for Communion.  After this fiasco, Welch vowed to develop wine to be used for Communion.  In September of that year, Welch and his family members squeezed and juiced 40 pounds of grape.  To suppress the natural fermentation of the grape juice, Welch heated the juice.  He even pasteurized the juice before bottling it.

 

 During the next several weeks, Dr. Welch worried that the bottles might explode from natural fermentation effect of grapes.  But nothing of the sort happened.  When he reopened one of the bottles that contained the juice, he discovered that there was only sweet, unfermented grape juice.  It did not ferment into alcohol.  This grape juice, called ‘unfermented grape wine,’ became an instant hit.

 

 Welch used his creation for the Communion service in his church.  As the rumors of this new product spread by word of mouth, it started to become one of staple beverages in America in the 1890s called “Dr. Welch’s Grape Juice.”

  Isn’t it interesting that the inventor of the Communion grape wine was a Methodist?

 

 Our church has a Holy Communion once every two months.  Adults and children gather together as a congregation to eat the body of Christ and drink His blood.  This is a traditional custom for our religion and church, but today I would like to clarify the definition of this tradition.

 

 According to the Gospel, before He was captured by the Romans, Jesus had a Last Supper with His Disciples (Matthew 26: 26-29, Mark 14: 22-25, Luke 22: 14-20).  After He broke bread and gave it to His Disciples, Jesus told them to eat the bread, for it was His body.  Jesus then passed around a glass and told them to drink from it, for it contained His blood which will be shed for them and mankind as a pledge to cleanse them of all their sins.

 

 Paul clearly states the importance of the Holy Communion through verses 24 and 25 of today’s scripture, signifying that it is an act to commemorate Jesus Christ and His work.  This fact corroborates with Luke 22: 19, where Jesus tells all to remember the Lord through Holy Communion.

 

 The bread that we will share today is the flesh of Christ that was torn from Him.  The glass symbolizes the blood of Christ that was shed to cleanse all of us of our sins.  Then what is the reason for routinely conducting this holy ceremony?

 

 A small booklet titled Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (Geneva, 1982), published by the world Council of Churches, gives five meanings of the Holy Communion. 

 

 First, Look Up.  Holy Communion is to look above and thank God our Father.  When we receive Holy Communion, we must thank God our Father, the Creator of the universe and everything that resides in it, as well as determining the fate and plight of man.  Above all, we must praise the fact that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to us to unfold and complete His work of salvation.  Through Communion, we must be able to raise our eyes and see God.

 

 Second, Look Back.  Holy Communion is to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.  The reason why Jesus established Communion is to commemorate, or anamnesis, His death.  Humans are creatures of lapse in memory.  No matter how happy or joyous an occasion may be, after passage of time man eventually forgets that event.

 

 Why does governments set certain dates as national holidays to celebrate year after year?  Why is August 15th observed as the Korean Independence Day?  Why is July 4th observed as the Independence Day in America?  They are so designated to keep people from forgetting these historical events.  They are meant as reminders of the important dates of the past and to have the people carry on the tradition and meaning of those historical days in their hearts.

 

 Likewise, Jesus wanted us to break bread and pass the glass to have us remember the death of our Lord on the cross and to etch that monumental event in our hearts.  When we break bread and drink from the glass, we must remember that some 2,000 years ago, Jesus died on the cross for us.  Herein lies the true meaning of the Holy Communion.

 

  When Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) of England passed away, his funeral was held in Saint Paul Church.  His subordinates carried his coffin from the church to the cemetery.  But his subordinates, even to the moment Nelson was being buried in the ground, did not want to forget him.  So they took the Union Jack, the flag of England, that was draped over Nelson’s coffin and cut it to pieces.  Each of them then took a piece of the flag.  Why?  As a memorabilia to forever remember Admiral Nelson by.

 

 It is true.  When we share Holy Communion today, we must make this the time to remember the flesh of Christ, which was torn for us.  This must be the hour to commemorate the blood of Christ, which was shed on the cross for us.  Remember that the true meaning of Holy Communion lies in commemorating the death of Christ, which will be remember throughout all eternity!  Therefore, we must turn our eyes towards our back and look at our Lord on the cross.

 

 Third, Look In.  Holy Communion is to receive the abundance of the Holy Spirit.  Believe that the Spirit of God enters our bodies when we receive Communion.  Spirit of God will help us become one with our Lord.  Holy Spirit, which enabled Jesus, who died on the cross, to become One with God our Father, will unite us with Jesus through Communion.

 

The bread and the glass, by themselves, mean nothing.  They are but common food items.  But if the Spirit of God advents above the bread and the glass, then both the bread and the glass will be transformed into the Blessed Sacrament.

 

The Catholics of the Middle Ages believed in ‘transubstantiation.’  They believed that through the Eucharist, the whole substance of the bread and the wine transforms into the body and blood of Christ in our bodies, and that our bodies become holy like Jesus.  By our reformed standards, transubstantiation seems excessive.  Yet, we must respect the fundamental ideal of this doctrine.

 

  When we receive Communion, Holy Spirit enters our bodies.  Holy Spirit will destroy all of our sins and renew us.  Through Holy Communion, we must look inside ourselves.  The empty crevices of our heart must be filled with the Spirit of God!


 Fourth, Look Around.  Holy Communion is to have Christians share fellowship with one another.  Communion is always done as a congregation.  Of course, there are exceptions.  For people who are bedridden or on their deathbed, Communion can take place at the place of their choosing.  But most Communion ceremonies take place in a church when the entire congregation gathers.  This shows that Holy Communion is closely related with fellowship among fellow Christians. 

 

 When we receive Communion, we become one with our Lord.  Those who eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood become one within Jesus Christ.  It is because the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ enter the heart and souls of all Christians who receive them, to make them members of one family within Christ.

 

 Even through we may look different, speak different languages, live in different cultures, and hold different nationalities, we become one in Christ.  Rich or poor, powerful or not, educated or illiterate, we become one within Christ.  It is because we share the same flesh and blood of Jesus.

 

 In some ways, those who shared in Communion may be closer to each other than with their own flesh and blood.  Through Holy Communion, we become eternal siblings in Christ.

 

 Through Holy Communion, we must take a look around ourselves.  We need to look for and look at our siblings, who are related to us by the flesh and blood of our Lord!

 

  Fifth, Look Forward.  Holy Communion is to taste in advance the food we will share in heaven.  The Bible speaks of three table fellowships.  There is the everyday table, where we eat our daily meals for sustenance.  There is the Holy Communion table, where we eat and drink the flesh and blood of Christ to commemorate His death.  Then there is the final table, the one that we will share with our Lord when heaven advents amongst us.

 

 No one knows what this third final table will be like.  But when we receive and share our Lord’s Communion, we can taste in advance that which will be offered at the final table in heaven. 

 Through Holy Communion, we must look into the future.  And we must taste in advance the offerings at the final table when we meet with our Lord on that certain day in the future.

 

 Let’s conclude today’s words.  Some time ago, a nation wide survey took place in America.  The survey asked, “What phrase do you like to hear the most?”  The phrase that people said they most like to hear was “I love you.”  The second most popular response was “You are forgiven.”  Do you know what the third most popular answer was?  It was “Supper is ready.”

 

  For all of you who are participating in this Holy Communion today, the table that our Lord has provided for you is prepared in front of you.  To all of us who are invited to this table, I hope that each one of us can hear our Lord’s voice as He tells us “I love you.”  I hope that we all can hear Him when He says, “You are forgiven.”

 

 Holy Communion is the time to lift up our eyes and look to God to offer Him thanks.  Holy Communion is the time to turn our eyes to our behind to look at Jesus on the cross to commemorate Him and His death.  Holy Communion is the time to turn our eyes inward to take a look at ourselves and fill our inner voids with the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit is the time to look around us to see our siblings who will become one with us through Communion and share in our collective fellowship.  Holy Communion is the time to look ahead to taste in advance the delicious offerings that await us in heaven.

 

  I pray in the name of our Lord that our spiritual eyes open far and wide.  Amen.

 

 

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