Devotion and Prayer for Week of May 20, 2012

Meditation for the Week of May 20, 2012

 

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?  And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”

                                                                                 1 Corinthians 10:16 & 17

If you recall the musical Oliver, there is a scene where Oliver, an orphan, is in the dining hall of the orphanage with all the other wards of the state.  As they are eating their meager portions of porridge, with the urging of his fellow orphans, Oliver, with bowl in hand, sheepishly approaches the headmaster and says, “Please sir, could I have some more?”  His request was not well received as the headmaster, in a fit of rage, calls Oliver everything from impudent to ungrateful and threatens to punish him within an inch of his life.

While maintaining an element of the comedic, the scene is still somewhat heartbreaking.  Alone in the world, Oliver simply wanted to end his pangs of hunger.  The request for more was not that out of line, but, it was met with a total lack of compassion by a headmaster who viewed Oliver as a dirty, pesky, little urchin; an annoyance at best.

How good it is to know that God our Father is not like the headmaster.  In fact, from God’s perspective, the greatest demonstration of faith on our part comes when we approach him and ask for more of his gifts.  He is most delighted when by faith we seek what he wants to give.

It is the nature of God to give.  He gave us forgiveness of our sins by the cross of Jesus.  He gave us new life when he brought us to the waters of Baptism.  He gives us eternal life and salvation.  And, he gives us Jesus our Lord in Holy Communion.  These are his gifts which he generously bestows upon us and which he wants to continue to generously bestow upon us.  For these things we can never ask too much.

And consider the blessings of the gifts he gives.  For example, consider what St. Paul says about the Lord’s Supper in the above verse.  The cup from which we drink is not an ordinary chalice of wine.  It is a “participation” in the blood of Christ.  The bread of which we partake is not ordinary bread.  It is a “participation” in the body of Christ.

Actually, the translation of “participation” is somewhat unclear.  Literally, Paul is saying that when we eat the bread and drink the cup in the Lord’s Supper, we are brought into the closest possible fellowship with the Lord’s body and blood, which were given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.  There is a “comm-union” with Jesus himself whereby we receive all the benefits of what he accomplished for us through his body and blood.  What a gift!

There is, however, even more.  God’s gifts are always bigger than what we think and more than what we expect.  St. Paul goes on and says that not only are we brought into the closest of fellowships with Jesus, we are also brought into the closest of fellowships with each other.  As there is one loaf, we are all joined together in one body along with Christ Jesus. As one body we joyfully receive all that God desires to give us and, trust me, he wants to give you the whole lot and a whole lot more!

We should never, like Oliver, fear asking God for more of his gifts.  He wants to give them and to give them often.  It does make you wonder why we only celebrate the Lord’s Supper every other week, though, doesn’t it?  Who doesn’t want to receive gifts as often as they can?  Why turn them down?  At least from my   perspective, if God wants to bestow upon me his gifts, I will be happy to come to his altar and ask, “Please sir, could I have some more?”

Our Weekly Prayer

 Lord Jesus, for my salvation you suffered death on the cross and rose victorious over all my foes.  Thank You that when I am afraid, I can trust in You.  Amen.