Today we are going to take communion. Take a moment before you begin and grab some bread (or a cracker) and some juice.
God was well aware of our ability to forget when Jesus instituted communion on the night before he was betrayed. If you were to read through the account in Exodus, you would see God time after time calling the Israelites to remember. For millennia, the people of God would use regular practices to remember all that God has done.
I am a parent of five daughters. It is fascinating to talk with other parents and see that my experience is so similar to theirs. One of the universal phrases of kids around the world is, “That’s not fair!”
Chores – “That’s not fair.”
Homework – “That’s not fair.”
Bedtime – “That’s not fair.”
It’s easy for me to look at these cries for justice as childish, yet I observe my own outbursts as I process my own adversity.
I can be envious of the lives of others – “That’s not fair.”
I can be frustrated at unique challenges I face – “That’s not fair.”
I can be frustrated with life’s circumstances that affect me – “That’s not fair.”
Today as we participate with communion, we join with believers across time and space as we look towards Jesus. Peter has encouraged us all through the first 3 chapters to suffer well. Suffering can come at our own hands, by making choices that are outside of the wisdom of God. But many times we can encounter adversity that is challenging as it truly seems quite unfair. Suffering may be a natural part of life, but trial after trial, frustration after frustration can begin to mount as we go through the months and years. Our anxiety, stress, and fear can begin to feel like a prison for our souls, blocking out the Goodness of God. How can we remain observant of God’s Goodness while absorbing life’s circumstances?
Communion is a gift as it draws our eyes away from ourselves and towards our Creator.
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.1 Peter 3:18 (NLT)
Jesus NEVER SINNED yet he DIED FOR SINNERS. Sinners like you and I. His suffering did not come at his own hands yet he submitted to it. As he did, the death that was supposed to swallow him up was the very thing that brought about true life.
I don’t know what this Stay at Home order has been like for you and your family. But adversity and suffering, as it is submitted to God, IS the pathway towards new life in ways that are hard to imagine. As you read and journal today, allow it to prepare your heart for communion. In no way is this a downplaying of the suffering of this world; however, the answer to pain and adversity is not a clever solution, it is a Person—Jesus.
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
- When you finish your journaling, take communion, first the bread then the juice. Reflect on God’s suffering and allow it to reorient you to your own adversity.
Here is our passage for the day:
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.1 Peter 3:18–22 (NLT)
We will see you next week!