Ephesians 4: 1-16
JOHN 6: 24-35

And, Paul wrote … “Therefore as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God.”

Have you read Paul’s letters at home?   Have you considered Paul’s words as having substance?  On Thursday, in our Bible Study at Shepherd’s Farm … by the way; our Shepherd’s Farm Bible study doesn’t stop and if you’re looking for something to do on Thursday mornings well join us.  And, coming in September not only am I bringing back our two Wednesday Bible studies but I hope to add a Tuesday all online lunch Bible study … just 20 to 30 minutes for anyone who wants to go into God’s Word.

Those were carefully placed commercial messages hidden in today’s sermon … Seriously, have you thought about Paul?  On Thursday, as I was saying, I accidentally opened my Bible to Colossians instead of Galatians and started reading out loud.  Paul’s written words, “Be watchful and thankful.  And, pray for us that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ … FOR WHICH I AM IN CHAINS.”

And, then there’s today’s message to those living in Ephesus to whom Paul had preached and brought the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  The truth of a Messiah for all people.  A message we all have heard … a message I pray we all have taken as personal and up close and meaningful and life changing … “Therefore as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God.  Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience.  Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.  YOU ARE ONE BODY and ONE SPIRIT.”

Friends … would you go to prison for your Lord Jesus Christ?  If your very freedom to watch tv, hang out with friends, and get in the car to drive wherever you wanted to go would be lost by standing up in faith would you?  Just how much does this Jesus Christ mean to you and what impact has Jesus Christ had in changing who you are?

Tough questions … some would say but my family … my job … the pain of prison and suffering.  Paul didn’t … but then after all he has churches named after him.  Maybe it was for the publicity that Paul stood up for Jesus so he could be immortalized; a burgeoning First Century Superstar.

Have you ever wondered … have you ever thought about it.  I know when I had my oops moment on Thursday knowing what the Scripture from Ephesians for this morning was I have and I don’t know for sure what my answers would be.

But, then there are those other words of Paul … words that bring me to this morning and my desperate need for the Table of the Lord.  My scheduled visit since we Untied Methodists don’t like to add time to worship by always featuring the breaking of the bread and taking of the cup … can’t add to the 60 except once a month because other priorities await don’t they?

I am struck by Paul’s words … “I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God.” And, “make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.  YOU ARE ONE BODY and ONE SPIRIT.” 

Thomas Merton wrote, “The deepest level of communication is not communication but communion.  It is wordless … beyond speech … beyond concept.”  It is the bread of life … it is the connection of you and me with the Creator on an extremely personal basis that should have us in awe of God; in a sense of our unworthiness to be loved so greatly … friends there is a miracle in this table that transforms us from sinners into people of hope.  There is a transformational opportunity when we eat the bread and take the cup that we should rush towards knowing how much we need this moment …

As Henie Nouwen wrote, “Jesus didn’t say ‘blessed are those who care for the poor.’ He said, blessed are we where we are poor … where we are broken.  It is there that God loves us deeply and pulls us into deeper communion with himself.”

There is a miracle in our confession to God … there is a miracle in that table … God is waiting to let loose the miracle that is you but you have to say God matters most … Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior … the world is trivial compared to the Holy but but … how would you answer the question asked of Jesus this morning if it was asked of you?

“They asked Him, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?”  What if someone at breakfast this morning asks you that question … what if a coworker pauses in the midst of your work day and asks “Hey what do we have to do in life for God?”  What if your children, your grandchildren, your nephews and nieces ask … what would you say?  Would you say that you have made God your priority and they should too?  That Jesus Christ was more than a storybook creation and that every child needs to hear the story?  Would you tell them how you share Communion not with a church full of people but that you step away from those in the pews to truly be in communion with the Creator, with the Son, and that you open yourself up to the Holy Spirit’s direction or would you say … go to church on Sunday and be sure to always say Merry Christmas?

Paul in teaching the church in Corinth wrote, “The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread and said this is my body, which is for you, do this in remembrance of me.  In the same way He took the cup saying the cup is a new covenant in my book whenever you drink it do so in remembrance of me.  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

This is our teaching moment … this is our Communion … are we ready to remember and are we ready to proclaim?   Are we ready for the miracle … if we were jailed for Jesus Christ would we long for the table and the bread and the cup?  Are we ready to admit our brokenness that that table can heal?

Are you ready for the bread of God … to truly have life in this world?  Jesus is the bread of life.  Our moments at the table matter … connect the dots of faith and you will discover that you and I need this table and these moments.  Be equipped to serve God … be ready to declare your faith … take in God’s Holy Communion.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out on the lunar surface after Armstrong took “Just one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind” the first food they consumed were the blessed Holy elements of Communion.  Jesus declared my friends … Jesus the Son of God … Jesus God walking on earth as the Human One taught by saying “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in my will never be thirsty.”

Do you believe … is this table something you have been urgently waiting for because it’s been far too long since you last took the bread and cup.  There’s a miracle ready for you this morning … it’s all in how you take in this table because God gave Jesus to forgive your sins … EAT, DRINK, and be blessed this morning but forget whose next to you and start to consider who is above you and around you all the time.


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