In November the International Conference on Missions will meet in Cincinnati. Thousands will gather, as they have for 70 years. Friends will reconnect from all over the world. They might share an Italian meal at the hotel, a breakfast of French roast coffee and croissants, or an Asian feast at a Japanese steakhouse. Almost anywhere in the world nowadays you can partake of meals from . . . almost anywhere.
If we were to have a fellowship meal here and each of you brought food from the farthest place you’d ever been, what kind of ethnic meal would we have? Indian curry? Texas barbecue? Irish stew? We could call it an uttermost banquet—brought from the uttermost parts of the earth.
2 Corinthians 3:1-6
1. Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Outsiders watching Christians take part in the Lord’s Supper over and over might feel sorry for us. We take a tiny piece of bread and a tiny sip of juice and remember someone who had a real meal with his friends a long time ago. It might seem foolish or sad that we keep doing this. “Jesus is gone,” they might say. “Move on.”
But they don’t know what we know. We know that when Jesus left, he promised he would never leave. It’s a strange truth, but it’s what he said. Although he stopped walking around in a human body on the earth, he promised he’d start walking around in many human bodies—ours.
First Corinthians 11:26 says: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
So simply by taking this bread and juice today, we remember and retell the story of Jesus’ death, every time, over and over again. We keep telling the story as we eat the bread and as we sip the juice. We tell it to ourselves as we taste it and we tell it to each other as we do it together. Christians have been doing this for thousands of years, and Christians will do this after we’re gone.
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