Monday, April 10, 2017

Don’t Go for the Sampler

Submitted by Kerry Patton

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”    Colossians 1:19-20
The Lord’s Table
Many years ago, I was conducting a worship service at a retirement care facility in Rising Star, Texas.  That Sunday afternoon was the first of the month and I was also leading them in the Lord Supper after my message. 
There was one resident, a woman we will call Doris, who sat silently in her wheel chair the entire time I was preaching; her head was bowed and her eyes were closed.  I closed my message with a prayer and then entered the liturgy for the Lord’s Supper.  Shortly, I had completed the liturgy and was now distributing the elements to those in attendance.  Making my way around the room, one person at a time received the elements of the bread and the cup. 
Finally, I got to the place where this woman was still sitting silently.  “Ms. Doris, would you like to receive the Lord’s supper?”  There was no response.  “Ms. Doris, would you like to receive the Lord’s supper?” I repeated.  This time a bit louder.  The woman jumped and opened her eyes.  She had been sleeping.  I smiled to myself and repeated a third time: “Would you like to receive the Lord’s supper?”  This time, her aged eyes looked at mine and she replied: “What’s that?”  I explained to her that I was serving what is known as “The Lord’s Supper.”  I told her that the cup of juice represented the blood of Jesus shed upon Calvary’s cross for our sins, and the bread represented his body, broken for us.  The woman sat for a moment in silence staring at the elements of the Lord’s Supper.  Then with a sweep of her hand, she picked up practically all the wafers of unleavened bread on the plate, closed her hand, and sat back in her chair.
I stood in front of her for a moment, shocked at what had just happened.  Instead of taking a single piece of the communion bread, she had essentially taken it all.   Only a couple of pieces remained.  Momentarily, I panicked!  I looked to my right and there were two attendants remaining.  There would be JUST enough.  I moved on to serve them.

It’s an All You Can Eat Buffet
Looking back on this event, and I do think of that precious lady from time to time, I don’t know what she was thinking as she swept the plate with her hand.  But I do recall what I was thinking:  In that moment, I was smiling.  Her action had placed in my mind an image of her understanding that the Lord’s Supper elements were connecting her to Jesus, to his love, to his salvation, to his power…and she wanted all she could get!
Have you ever been to a mall food court and experienced the persons standing outside an establishment giving away samples of what they can find inside?  “Here, taste this.  Have a free sample!”  Yes, the Bible does invite us to “taste and see that the Lord is good…” in Psalm 34:8.  However, Jesus isn’t just a sampler that we taste a bite or two of and then go on about our shopping!   Above, we read in Colossians 1:19-20 where we are told that – the fullness of God…is in Christ Jesus.  He is all there, and you are invited to receive all of him.  ALL his love, all his grace, all his wisdom, all his power, all his presence…in your life! 
God desires for us to experience the FULLNESS of Himself in Jesus…Not merely a sample of what He is like, but an all you can eat buffet where we can come and be filled over and over and over with the fullness of God in Jesus.  Indeed…taste and see.  Taste it all, and take it home.

Almighty God, how we long to experience the fullness of you.  As Jesus prayed for his disciples to understand the height, breadth, and depth of your love for them, so also we need that knowledge.  Do your work of revelation in each of us, and fill us with deep desire to follow you ever more closely, and seek you as we have not before.   Help us, O God, to know your fullness in Jesus.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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