Monday, March 28, 2011

Conviction is Good

I'm not all that well-versed in religious matters, but I'm forever amazed at God's timing and His love.

My church offers The Lord's Supper (Communion) only a few times each year.  My pastor's feeling is that doing it rarely, like a quarterly basis, emphasizes that it is a sacred thing.  I agree that it is sacred and should be treated as such.  I think that, more important than treating the act with reverence, is the condition of the heart in those who choose to partake.  That's where this blog post was born, but more on that later.

For those of you who don't know, The Lord's Supper (also called Communion) is the act in which the congregation mimics the final meal that Jesus shared with His disciples on the eve of His sacrifice.  We share bread, crackers, or wafers (depends on the church) as a symbol of His body. . .the body that was broken for our sins.  We also share wine or juice (again, depends on the church) as a symbol of his blood. . .the blood that was spilled as a once-and-forever sacrifice to lift away our sins and reconcile us to God. 

I won't even begin to try to tackle whether the bread is the actual body of Christ or whether the wine is the actual blood of Christ because I don't want to start a Holy War.  Different denominations believe different things on that matter.  Let's just let that discussion lie while we move right along, shall we?

The Lord's Supper was offered at my church yesterday and I felt bothered when I noticed the platters of broken matzoh and the communion cups of grape juice.  I was surprised at my negative response because that had never happened to me before.  I actually wanted to leave the sanctuary and excuse myself from the entire service.

My pastor explained the history of this act and the reason why Christians do this in remembrance of Him.  He also included some verses that helped enlighten me.  Specifically, he spoke about unconfessed sin as it relates to the condition of the heart.

Then it hit me.  I didn't want to cast a light on my heart.  I didn't want to do any reflection or confession. 

Why?  Because I wanted to cling to the sins that had taken up residence in my heart and that's why I was bothered at the notion of participating in The Lord's Supper.  I knew that I should not partake if I was still willfully holding those sins and I understand the importance of asking God's forgiveness for any and ALL unconfessed sins.  It only hit me yesterday morning that I had a lot of unconfessed sin in my heart. 

Sure, sins of the heart might seem like lesser sins than sins of the flesh, but the Bible is very clear on this:  sin is sin is sin.  Sins of the heart are weighted as heavily as sins of the flesh.  Both are sins and both need to be confessed.

For various reasons (travel, illness, nursery duty), I've been away from church for a few weeks.  It seems like an odd coincidence that my first week back to church is a service built around The Lord's Supper and the need to sweep sin from your heart.  But is it all that odd?  No, not really. . .it's just God's perfect timing at work.

I needed to be reminded that the smallest bit of sin in the heart can spread and grow if left unchecked.  I needed to confess and turn away from that sin that had taken up residence in my heart.  God, in His perfect love, gave me the conviction that I needed and I needed that conviction to get right with Him.

It's been a rough several months for me.  Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  The other two are directly impacted by my spiritual health.  When my spirit is nourished, my emotions are positive.  And, when I feel good in my mind, my body follows. 

I'm embarrassed to admit that I had been feeling spiritually barren for several weeks.  Not neglected or unloved by God. . .almost the opposite.  I felt more like a snotty teenager who doesn't want to do what their loving parents say is the right thing to do.  My spiritual drought allowed me to ignore what I know was right and contemplate whatever the heck I wanted.  Naturally, that lead to further feelings of separation and spiritual dryness.  It quickly became a never-ending cycle that repeated over and over and over again.

Christians, is there something weighing heavily on your heart today?  Don't try to deal with it alone or give in to spiritual chaos.  Take it to God and feel at peace once again.

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