Raised Up Through the Cup and the Loaf

October 1, 2023
Raised Up Through the Cup and the Loaf

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 14 - 17 (MSG)

So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.

I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is. 

Message:  Raised up through the cup and the loaf

Religion - avoiding vulnerability

In our western culture, we subconsciously avoid being vulnerable all the time

One of the most evident ways we do that is to attempt to control everything around us

We hate it when we are not in control of what happens to us in life

And to avoid the terrible feeling of not being in control, we tighten the grip… go even harder in our obsession with control

In this chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we see how Paul calls out believers turning communion into something that they themselves want to control - far removed from what Jesus intended it to be

“…people reducing God to something they can use or control…” of course we can’t reduce God or even control God… 

But this is exactly what happens when religion goes wrong - we somehow think they can define who God is within our own systems of thinking or even control God in what allow into our lives and what we refuse

All to avoid being vulnerable - or to avoid making our vulnerability being seen by others around us

However noble our motivation, we put on masks of “I am in control” and “I have things figured out” and “I have made it”

And underneath, out of sight of others, we are deeply vulnerable…

We are vulnerable

We get glimpses of how vulnerable people are…

We see vulnerability when someone looses their good state of health and land up in hospital

We see how vulnerable people are when they hear the news that the cancer is terminal

We see how vulnerable people are when they loose their earthly possessions - the things they worked so hard for

We get glimpses vulnerability at a funeral when a loved one brings a eulogy 

We see vulnerability when relationships are in trouble and fall apart and end

We see vulnerability when someone becomes addicted and realize that they are not in control of things anymore

We see vulnerability when depression and mental health change people we love

We see vulnerability when over time someone stop believing in themselves and slowly slips into a spiral of a low self-esteem 

We see vulnerability when someone looses the desire to continue living

We see vulnerability all around us… vulnerability is here today

Don’t look for it in the pew next to you… look in the mirror!

I am vulnerable!  

Others might see my mask, but deep down I know it - I am extremely vulnerable!

God sees our vulnerability

This service started with the words of Psalm 139: 1 - “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

God knows… God sees… God is aware…

My vulnerability is not hidden from God

Take a moment to consider your vulnerability in the presence of God in this moment… forget about what others think of you… forget about the mask you wear…

Just bring your vulnerability before God…

[moment of silent reflection]

Raised up

Because God knows how deeply vulnerable you are, He sent his Son 

Jesus was stripped of everything on the cross for you!

He paid the price because on your own you will never make it 

He gives you life, despite your weakness

He raises you up because the price is paid - you are able to conquer life!

You are his child, you are chosen, you are free, you are loved!

When you sit down at the table with me today

Bring your weakness

Bring your vulnerability 

And be raised up through the cup and the loaf!

The Meaning of Communion:

Before we take part in the Holy Communion, let us consider what the Word of God teaches us about Communion.  The Word of God tells us about God’s great love for us.  We know God’s love through his Son, Jesus.  Jesus loves us too.  We know Jesus’ love because He gave his life for us.  On Good Friday He died for us on the cross at Golgotha.  Jesus himself shared the practice of communion with his disciples.  He told them to celebrate communion regularly, so that we will never forget what Jesus did for us.

Communion tells us what Jesus has done for us:

BREAD:  Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:  “Take and eat; this is my body.” (Matt 26: 26).  Now take this bread, eat it and reflect on the body of Jesus that was broken on the cross, so that we may receive salvation.

WINE:  Jesus then took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Matt 26: 27, 28) Now take this wine, drink it, and reflect on the blood of Jesus that flowed on the cross, so that we may receive salvation. 

Reflection: Romans 8: 38, 39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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