Sunday, October 27, 2013

The gleaming Mark O'Hagin table holds up Life

 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” Matthew 25:26-29

This mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
to rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And He will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
The veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth,
For the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for Him;
Let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:6-9

Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.

His kingdom is now.

Sin and death have been destroyed.

So all of us teacher-types were packed up to Glendale yesterday for a professional development by a horse-whisperer sort of guy. And really, there were lots of bits that I didn't really agree with and that it thought were contradictory etc. etc. but. He did remind me of one absolute truth. Satan has lost the battle. It is done. Over. Finished.

And all of the doubts and fears and brokenness that weighs us down, the heavy-ladenness of life is mostly tied up with not saying, “Get ye back, Satan” enough.

And I am reminded that Jesus Who Knows What Is True always blesses first.   Before He broke the bread. And may that be my first response to life, a true thank you God for You are good and Your kingdom is Now. Not in the distant by-and-by, but Now.

And a friend, recently tattooed much to Alan’s dismay wrote about our little Plymouth Brethren Chapel, imperfect yet whole, and the breaking of bread service led only by the Spirit.

Bethany Chapel
Bracketed between the first
tentative prayers, a silence fills
this place, a shadowed listening
as our separateness seeks out
the Spirit’s focus for this hour
and gathers strength enough
to peer and soar
into small, shining arcs of praise
held at their lower ends
by the old hymns. Christ
in this crowd of rest and rising
humbles himself again to our
humanity; and like the sheep
(trembling in the shearer’s hands)
surrenders to us once more
in quietness.
As at his dark birth and death
we had his body in our fingers,
now, again, we split the whiteness
of his loaf by turns, and tasting
his imaged life against
the cup’s cool rim
we take him in.
Nourished by that final flesh,
that ultimate blood behind
the chosen signs, our God-thoughts,
seeds of worship, multiply to words.
Light flows down to us, and back,
joins us in one body of fire –
one polyphon of light now
sounding out himself –
one flame of singing
burning into being.
Luci Shaw
And because I am married to the worship leader, I know that today’s service is about this selfsame silence.

And my heart always fills in the part, “and they sang a hymn and went went out to the Mount of Olives” with an unspoken “in silence.”

And I know Marco was unhappy with the careless chit-chat before and between and after the Eucharist.

And today may I hear the silence.

In the one flame of singing burning into being.