Remembering Holiness & Love
Communion for 5/13
[¯after Speak O Lord¯]
God I pray that you would speak to us through this physical memorial of communion that you have set up for us to participate in. Preach the gospel to each one of us as we rejoicingly obey your gracious command you left us the night before you gave your life for us. God speak to me and through me despite me as I seek to shepherd my own heart and the hearts of those in this body to savor your at the foot of the cross. It’s only by Jesus’ name that I dare to come, and it is by Jesus’ name that I confidently ask your blessing on this time. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.
Have you ever been watching a Suns game and seen Steve Nash do something that is so spectacular that you just can’t wait for the instant replay and talk to all your friends about it the next day? Or what about the Grand Canyon? Why do people just stand there on the Rim staring, and then start taking so they look some more when they get home and try to tell their friends of what they saw? But then shortly those things bore us and we have to move on to a new great thing to stand in awe of for a few moments.
But there is one thing, one person before whom we will stand in awe and worship for eternity: God. Words cannot describe the wonder of God, we have sung of his mercy, of his love, of his holiness, of his beauty, but what we know to desire now is only just a miniscule fraction of the glory that it will take eternity to behold, enjoy, and proclaim. Revelation 4 and Isaiah 6 give us two snapshots of heaven: Those around the throne are awestruck by one thing, they are captivated by one thing, there is nothing else they desire to gaze upon, no one else they desire to be with, and nothing else they desire to do: “Day and night the seraphim never cease to say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.’” Worship, by the angels and by the people around the throne is continuous and joy-filled not out of duty, not as if they wish they were doing something else, but because they are so enthralled by God’s holiness, his beauty, his might, his eternality, his glory, his honor, his power, and His perfections that there is nothing else they want to do; all of the treasures of this world and millions like it couldn’t draw them away from the throne. That is the God we worship. That is where I long to be.
But as soon as Isaiah saw that scene, his first response was appropriate, and his first response was devastating. He cried “Woe is me”. He knew that his evilness could not exist with God’s Holiness. No matter how much I want to be with God, I can’t. Holiness cannot dwell with evil. I have to rely on somebody else’s righteousness, Christ’s righteousness given to us at the cross.
God graciously gave us what we are celebrating now in communion so that we could never forget the cross. God the Father and God the Son had enjoyed perfect unity and fellowship from eternity past, and as our sins were placed on Him, God the Father crushed His Son and God the Son cried out in the worst agony ever imaginable, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?!”
At the cross we see that God is Holy, but we also see that God is love. Bob Kauflin writes, “The cross reminds us that the Holiness that cannot dwell with evil is also the Love that died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). Righteousness and mercy embrace in the perfect sacrifice of God’s Son. God’s love and holiness are not contradictory – they are inseparable.”
So when we come to communion, come confessing sin, but we must not focus on our sin. Our focus must be on that God who is worthy of nothing less than eternal worship. Praise God that He graciously gave us communion so that weekly we behold both His holiness and His love. Rest right now in that love that reconciled you to God; rest in that love, despite that sin, trial, or grief that may overwhelm you as you came to church today. Be overwhelmed by God’s love. Rest in that reconciling love and enjoy the God who loves you and died for you.
Men, please come and pass the cup and bread. Take communion on your own, in awe of God’s holiness and majesty and His love that would kill His own Son in your place so that you could be with Him and enjoy Him forever. If you do not long for that God-centered heaven, and if you have not trusted only in Jesus to pay for your sins and give you righteousness, then pass the cup and bread by. But please don’t leave today without receiving God’s free grace through faith. Take communion on your own, remembering God’s love shown by His broken body and covenant in His blood.