Tag Archives: Holy Communion

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 16

Track 1: The Glory of the Lord 

1 Kings 8:[1, 6, 10-11], 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

Today we read about Solomon dedicating the temple he constructed to God. From 1 Kings:

Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.   (1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11)

And reading from 2 Chronicles:

It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

“For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.   (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

You know when the weight of glory has filled the house of God when nobody can remain standing. The Azusa Street Revival, beginning in the spring of 1906, largely spawned the worldwide Pentecostal movement. People who attended has a taste of God’s glory. Many could only move by crawling on their hands and knees as they experienced the weight of the glory cloud.

Solomon administered under the law of Moses when he came under the weight and  power of God. The Apostle compared this glory with an even greater glory under the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at Moses’ face because of the glory of his face, a glory now set aside, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit come in glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory; for if what was set aside came through glory, much more has the permanent come in glory!   (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

The Prophet Joel wrote of this permanent glory:

Then afterward
    I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.   (Joel 2:28-31)

That day is fast approaching. What will it be like? Will we experience this glory? Yes, God is going to pour it out on all flesh. Will we be prepared for it? Will our churches be prepared for it?

That is the question. It depends under whether or not Christ is our head. Many Christians attend churches where the headship of Christ is not honored. The Gospel has been watered down. For what reason?

When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum he said:

 “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”   (John 6:56-69)

He teaching was misunderstood by many. We read:

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”   (John 6:56-69)

Reading from the Book of Hebrews:

We do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower[g] than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God[h] he might taste death for everyone.

It was fitting that God,[i] for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.   (Hebrews 2:9-10)

We must follow Jesus. He alone is the Lord of G;Glory. Seeker churches will not do. Churches who do not recognize the presence of the Lord in Communion service will not do. Those who rule out supernatural miracles and healings will not be prepared for the glory. Nominal Christianity will not prepare one for the glory. Will we say like Peter:“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God?”

 

Track 2: Suggestions

Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18
Psalm 34:15-22
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

The Old Testament and Gospel readings speak of choices. Joshua challenged the tribes of Israel: “Choose this day who you will serve.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.” But they did what they said they would not do.

In the Gospel, after Jesu taught about Holy Communion, many of his disciples left him. Serving God requires us to follow his commandments and his teachings. What are some of the things that may stand in way?

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Twelth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 15

Track 1: Asking for Wisdom

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
Psalm 111
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

Today, let us look at the place of wisdom in our faith. We read in Proverbs:

Give instruction[a] to the wise, and they will become wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will gain in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.   (Proverbs 9:9-1:9-10)

God is our teacher. He is wiser than we will ever be. We need to fear him. We need to respect him:. We need to acknowledge his wisdom and understanding.

God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.   (Isaiah 55:5-6)

But God is ready to teach us wisdom. In the Book of James we read:

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.   (James 1:5)

Solomon was made king of Israel after his father David. But he realized the difficulty of his position:. Reading from 1 Kings:

And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”   (1 Kings 3:7-9)

Solomon understood his limitations. How many of us understand ours? God wants us to ask him for help:

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word.   (1 Kings 3::10-12)

It pleases God that we ask him things that line up with his word. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.   (Matthew 6:33)

God blessed Solomon with wisdom, but he also blessed him with in other ways. God said to him:

I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”   (1 Kings 3:13-14)

Unfortunately, Solomon eventually became distracted by the things of this world. He did not keep the commandments of God. Wisdom, alone, will not save us. We need something even greater than wisdom. We need a relationship with God. We need the saving power of God. In John’s Gospel we read:

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.   (John 1:11-13)

How do we access the power of God. We need Jesus living on the inside of us. From today’s Gospel reading:

So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”   (John 6:53-56)

Solomon had the right idea to ask for wisdom, but he did not rely on God’s help to keep it. If we are wise, we will ask God for his help. He sent Jesus to die for our sins. He paid the price for our sin so that we re empowered to live jn his victory. He is our best help. We need the mind of Christ. We need him abiding in us. His victory is our victory  He is our source of strength and power to overcome this world.

Her is our wisdom. Imagine this, he is living on the inside of us if we have3 made him Lord. He can then direct our thinking and actions.

 

Track 2: Suggetions

Proverbs 9:1-6
Psalm 34:9-14
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

Today’s Old Testament and the Gospel reading talk about a feeding. In Proverbs, wisdom is calling out:

“You that are simple, turn in here!”
    To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity, and live,
    and walk in the way of insight.”   (Proverbs 9:4-6)

And in the Gospel:

Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”   (John 6:51)

The first meal is a foretaste of the second. Jesus is the wisdom of God.

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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 14

Track 1: The Living Communion

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Psalm 130
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

Absalom was a son of King David. He had ambitions to become king in place of his father. He failed to realize that God appointed and anointed David the king of Israel.  His rebellion eventually led to his death.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.   (Galatians 2:20)

To fully live one must give up oneself. Absalom did not understand this. He could only take. He did not realize what God was prepared to give him in return for himself, as did his father David.

Jesus set the example for us. He gave us his all on the cross to purchase our salvation. But we must give him our all as well. When we do that we are invited to his banquet. He becomes our spiritual food:

Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”   (John 6:53-58)

By this teaching we should understand how important the Holy Communion is to Christ living in us. Thus, it is not optional but vital to our Christian journey.

In the Book of Revelation we read:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.   (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus is not speaking to unbelievers here, but to the Church. He wants to sup with us. The Holy Communion of the Lord’s Supper has been given to us so that we may participate in the a foretaste of heavenly banquet.

Christ living in us should not be a mystery to the Christian. The Apostle Paul wrote:

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: the which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.   (Colossians 1:24-27)

David loved his son Absalom and wept over his death. God weeps over us when we do not understand his love and rebel against him. Let us not be Absalom’s. Absalom sought glory for himself, for God has a far greater glory which will be revealed to those who put their trust in his Son Jesus and partake of his banquet.

 

Track 2: Suggestions

1 Kings 19:4-8
Psalm 34:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

Elijah was on a physical journey to Mount Horeb. The angle encouraged him to eat food or the journey would be too great for him. We are on a spiritual journey. We need spiritual food or we may not reach our destination. Jesus is that food:

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”   (John 6:35)

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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 13

Track 1: You Are the Man

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
Psalm 51:1-13
Ephesians 4:1-16
John 6:24-35

We continue with King David’s dreadful deceit. God instructed the Prophet Nathan to go to David and tell him this parable:

“There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.”   (2 Samuel 12:1-4)

David was very harsh in his judgement of the rich man:

He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”   (2 Samuel 12:5-6)

It is easy for us to be critical of others. This was especially true for David in this case, for the rich man showed no pity. But we are not to be judgmental of others in any case. Jesus said:

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?   (Matthew 7:1-3)

When we judge others we often find that judgement coming back on us:

Nathan said to David, “You are the man!   (2 Samuel 12:7)

Perhaps we dwell on the sin of others to avoid looking ay out own sin. God wants us to recognize our sins and confess them.

God responded to David’s confession. Nathan said:

Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  Nathan said to David, “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.”   (2 Samuel 12:11-13)

There are often consequences for sin, even when we confess it and have received God’s forgiveness.

Sin has ti do with an attitude of the heart. When he gained this understanding David wrote Psalm 51:

Have mercy o, O God, according to your loving-kindness;
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

Wash me through and through from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sinFor I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.

Against you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight.

 so you are justified when you speak
and upright in your judgment.

Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth,
a sinner from my mother’s womb.

For behold, you look for truth deep within me,
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure;
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

Make me hear of joy and gladness,
that the body you have broken may rejoice.

1Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.

Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.   (Psalm 51:1-13)

What can we learn from this tragedy and David’s confession? We may not have committed such vile crimes, at least not in in the physical. But we must look deep within our hearts:

For behold, you look for truth deep within me,
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.   (Psalm 51:7)

Perhaps we should be proactive in our confessions before God. The psalmist wrote:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.   (Psalm 139:23-24)

If we have an unforgiving and judgmental heart, we have lost the foundation of our faith. God’s kingdom is based on love and forgiveness. Without his love as our foundation we are severely handicapped in coping with our daily lives. The Apostle Paul wrote:

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.   (Ephesians 4:14-16)

Jesus Christ is our head. He is our example. From the cross he forgave everyone. Are we able to follow his example? Yes, with his help, as long as we are able to look at our own sin. Our salvation is far greater than any false sense of self righteousness. We are righteous only by our faith, The blood of Jesus which washes away all of our sin, provided that we confess it.

Track 2: Suggestions

Exodus 16:2-4,9-15
Psalm 78:23-29
Ephesians 4:1-16
John 6:24-35

In today’s readings we have two miraculous feedings, one in the Old Testament and one in the Gospel:

The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“   (Exodus 1611-12)

In the Gospel, Jesus is teaching about the miracle of Holy Communion:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”   (John 6:36)

Both feedings are from God. The manna given in the wilderness was vital to the health of the children of Israel. The body and blood of Jesus is vital to our spiritual health. The children of Israel had no choice. We have a choice. Our churches have a choice. Jesus said:

“Very truly, I tell youunless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.   (John 6:53)

 

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