I have a passion to do my best to make sure that our congregation’s members can take a meaningful communion every week. I believe we can avoid dull repetition and boredom. And the opposite problem of going off-topic in such of creativity. The answer, as usual, is to go deeper. I have taught on the atonement a few times, and found this to be tremendously helpful in my thinking about the communion.
I share today about one of the models of the atonement – that called, “Healing”.
Let me know what you think of this model. In what way is it helpful? How could this view of atonement be brought to life in a communion talk? What scriptures, images, stories would give people sense of being healed, as they take bread and wine, that they are restored, reconciled, adopted into God’s family?
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Thanks so much for watching and listening. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday and a wonderful week.
God bless, Malcolm
Scriptures referenced or alluded to in this recording:
“The atonement means that the relationship between humans and God is restored (healed). The central piece in this restoration is that God, through the Servant who personally takes on all our iniquities, grants forgiveness of sins….The punishment for our sins, which was often meted out in terms of suffering, sickness and calamity, has also been taken on by that Servant. His absorption of both the sin and its punishment is the means to our healing and restoration, by grace bringing us shalom or well-being in all its richness.” The Nature of the Atonement”, p130
I paid a visit to the Riverside sector of the London church on Sunday. I had been invited to preach on the topic, “The Prayer God Always Answers”. I was delighted to see old friends like Dayo, Adrian & Maureen, and the Cheng clan – Will, Lorna, Steve & Candace. The food after the service was just what a hungry preacher needed too!
A bonus encouragement for me was Paul Bateman’s communion talk. He used the passage in John 19:16-30, focussing on the section,
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30 NIV)
Paul talked about our total national debt. A difficult number to take in. Something like a trillion pounds. What does that look like? If the hall was filled with a million piles of a million pounds, that would cover it all. What if we were asked to pay it back personally? We all laughed at the absurdity of the thought. But isn’t our debt to God bigger? Not only bigger, but worse in so many ways because it is the debt of sin against a holy God. Not only a debt. A debt-crime.
The passage above says that on the cross Jesus came to the point where his earthly work was ‘finished’. The Greek word (tetelestai) carries with it the idea of paying a debt off in full. The cross finishes paying off our debt to God – a debt we could not pay. That is the reason we take bread and wine to remind us of this fact, and refresh our gratitude for God’s grace.