Originally scheduled for February 13
It is clear when you can see it in a picture. This North Korean
general has an impressive load of medals — so much so that he has
several of them on his pants. It is the way of the world to carry
around the trophies of your success, putting them on display for all
to see. It is our way of boasting without words. It helps that they
are shiny and attract attention. The fact that there are so many
also catches our eyes . In fact, the military refers to this kind of
an outfit as being “full dress” suitable for the most formal
It’s easy to see in a uniform like this. But
many of us do the same thing in civilian life. You may be wearing a
Rolex watch; perhaps you drove a Mercedes-Benz to church this
morning. Sometimes our way of bragging is a bigger house, a larger
fishing boat or any number of other trophies. We feel good when
other people see our success and acknowledge it. But our general
here expresses a problem with that; how do you pick which successes
to display? The world’s way is, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”
So what does a Christian display? We are, after
all, people of notable status — though not perhaps of our own
<![endif]>We are the ambassadors of
reconciliation, commissioned by God Almighty to bring his love and
grace to the world.
<![endif]>We are also a royal priesthood,
commissioned by God to approach his throne boldly with prayers and
requests on behalf of others as well as ourselves.
<![endif]>Perhaps most important of all, we are
children of God.
But as Paul tells us,
For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One
who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in
earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will
be of God and not from ourselves;
(2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NASB)
I hope you see the point. Because Christians
are such an exalted people, we need to make it clear to the world
that this is not our own doing, but the power of God. We don’t want
to let our egos get in the way of other people seeing the light of
Christ. Even a little humility can go a long way in this.
Perhaps the best example is given to us by
Christ himself. Think of all the great miracles he performed;
walking on water, feeding the 5000, turning water to wine. Of all
the things he did, there was only one that he chose for us to
ceremonially remember. It’s essential to note that when we take
communion we are proclaiming his death. The resurrection shows the
power of the Holy Spirit; the crucifixion shows the depth of
Christ’s love. Of all his actions this is the only one that he asked
us to to remember formally, in a group setting. We celebrate this
achievement because it is his greatest one.
More than that; he wants us to share not only
in the ceremonial meal but in the suffering that produced it. He
tells us that if you are a real Christian you will undergo suffering
for his sake. Most of us are not brilliant speakers or bold leaders
— but all of us have the ability to suffer for the cause of Christ.
In this meal he reminds you of that. He has chosen the ordinary of
this world to show the rich and powerful that the overwhelming
power, grace and love of God is offered through the humblest of us.
We are all his “earthen vessels” — we may not
look like much, but we show the power and grace of God in our daily
lives. As you partake today, remember the sacrifice and suffering he
endured so that you might become the children of God.