Thursday, October 1, 2009

God With Skin On

In his Letters to a Young Evangelical, Tony Campolo shares a story from his youth about taking Communion:

Sitting with my parents at a Communion service when I was very young, perhaps six or seven years old, I became aware of a young woman in the pew in front of us who was sobbing and shaking. The minister had just finished reading the passage of Scripture written by Paul that says, "Whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27). As the Communion plate with its small pieces of bread was passed to the crying woman before me, she waved it away and then lowered her head in despair. It was then that my Sicilian father leaned over her shoulder and, in his broken English, said sternly, "Take it, girl! It was meant for you. Do you hear me?"She raised her head and nodded—and then she took the bread and ate it. I knew that at that moment some kind of heavy burden was lifted from her heart and mind. Since then, I have always known that a church that could offer Communion to hurting people was a special gift from God.

Our job as a church is to say to the hurting, ashamed and despairing people of our community, "It was meant for you! Take it!" The "it" of course, is not just a communion wafer, but what it represents: The sacrifice of Jesus for their sins and the presence of Jesus in their lives, bringing them eternal and abundant life. These days, however, such people aren't often likely to be found in a church. Instead, we have to live like missionaries, taking the love of Christ to them right where they are, rather than waiting for them to come to us. That's why we've been in this series, "How to Win Your Friends...Naturally" for six weeks. We've looked at different ways people in Scripture shared their faith with others. This week, we'll close out the series with a message about reaching people for whom words aren't enough. It will tie in very nicely with our Faith in Action Day the next Sunday. I hope I see you there...both Sundays.

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