Archive for category Eucharist
10. The Church Is Relevant
I do like this statement by the author,
You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT. We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize.
Maybe I am a little blinded because I am an insider at Scofield, but I don’t think we struggle much with being Relevant; that is, we don’t try very hard to be Relevant. I have heard out of the mouth of our Worship Pastor, Daniel Jordan, that the goal of our worship ministry at Scofield is not to become slaves to one particular generation’s preference or experience of worshiping God. Instead, we are part of a global, ancient, culturally diverse movement of worshipers, who have always worshiped the one, true God. Our worship should reflect our connection to the past, our experience of God in the present, and our hope for the future.
If our youth ministry was too worried about Relevance with regard to our meeting areas, the Garage would have been remodeled into a hipster coffee bar, with X Games activities throughout instead of foosball tables, air hockey, and a chalkboard. Now don’t get me wrong, the Garage (i.e., one of our meeting rooms at Scofield) is cool, but it’s like late 90′s early 2000′s cool if we are dating it on the “Trendy Calendar.” Now, there is nothing wrong with remodeling rooms or buildings for better aesthetics and accessibility, but there is something wrong if we obsess over such things. Our weekly meetings have historically and will continue to be (if I have anything to do with it) primarily focused on biblical teaching. Sometimes, we spend up to an hour teaching the Bible on Sunday evenings. The time spent in the Scriptures is one of the author’s criticisms about most youth ministries. One student, who moved away sometime ago, has struggled in his new youth ministry because of the minimal focused on in-depth biblical instruction.
I could also go into our events and other activities, but I won’t. Let me just say that I feel like even our larger events flow more out of “the family” and “the tradition” that we have here at Scofield more than out of some attempt to be Relevant to every young person. Now, let me say this. Just because the things that I mentioned above don’t necessarily reflect a “Quest for Relevance” does NOT mean that deep, deep down in our hearts as a community there isn’t a desire to be more Relevant, and perhaps even sometimes a jealousy of others who may have the finances or resources to give the appearance of heightened Relevance. Lord, test our hearts; keep us from the sins of jealousy and envy. Lastly, let’s be careful about ALWAYS throwing Relevancy under the bus. Everyone at some level seeks to be Relevant. Shoot, in our day, to say something like, “I’m fleeing Relevance!” automatically makes you Relevant! However, thankfully, there is a biblical model and approach to Relevance. Consider the sermons of the book of Acts. They are always contextualized for preaching the gospel to particular audiences. Just think of Paul in Athens in Acts 17. Consider when the Apostle Paul says, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). So, may God help our ministry to seek the Holy Spirit and how he might have us proclaim the truth about Jesus to all people everywhere without forsaking who we are.
I am blessed to be able to worship on Good Friday (2012) with my friends who are associated with OurCalling. In preparation for this special worship meeting, I have been reading in Horton’s theology on The Lord’s Supper.
He explains and develops the concept of the covenant meal. Let me share with you some excerpts from this chapter of his book.
Clearly, these covenantal actions are not merely illustrations. Yet they are also not a magical transformation of earthly substances into divine substances. Rather, they are performative actions that do what they say. In and through the act of consecrating bread and wine as his body and blood, Jesus hands himself over to death as the sacrifice for the sins of those who eat and drink in faith. He offers them the “cup of salvation” because he will drink the “cup of wrath” to its dregs, a cup that he will dread in Gethsemane but will accept for us (782).
In a covenantal understanding, sacraments involve a giving of gifts from one person to another, not an exchange of substances. Its interest it not in what happens to the signs but in what happens between persons through them, not how Christ is present in the sacraments, but that he is present in saving action toward us. Grace is God’s favor, and the sacraments ratify God’s favor toward us. Their purpose is to reconcile enemies, not to elevate nature beyond itself (784).
The Heidelberg Catechism relates to us,
First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross . . . Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and the cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood (785).
Lastly, this may be one of my favorite comments,
Each time the Word is preached and the sacraments are attached as signs and seals, we receive our own answer to Abram’s query, “How can I know that this will happen?” Since God’s presence is not always felicitous (since he also frequently comes in judgment), we need the assurance that he come to us now in peace. The focus is not on what the water, bread, and wine really are whether Christ is substantially present in them but whether through these particular actions Christ is really giving himself to us (785).
Tonight, I hope to lead folks to find the grace of God in the Lord Jesus irresistible because he drank the “cup of wrath” for us and in its place he extends to sinners a cup of grace and salvation in his blood.