Three years ago: Dad’s communion meditation

On Sunday, October 4, 2015, my dad shared the following communion meditation in the College Church assembly (Searcy, AR).  The words come from various songs and hymns that Dad strung together, and he read this aloud prior to “the Supper.”  I post this now, first, to honor the Christ; and second, to remember my dad’s ways and means.

Jesus is all world to me—My life, my joy, my all.

Tell me the story of Jesus.

“Abba Father, Father, If indeed it may,
Let this cup of anguish Pass from Me, I pray;
Yet, if it must be suffered, By Me, Thine only Son,
Abba, Father, Father, Let thy will be done.”

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble.
Were YOU there when they crucified my Lord?

Upon that cross of Jesus, Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me.
There behold His agony, Suffered on the bitter tree;

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
We place You on the highest place.

O sacred head, now wounded, With grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded With thorns Thine only crown;
O make me Thine forever; And, should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never Outlive my love to Thee.

Your only Son no sin to hide, But You have sent Him from your side
To walk upon this guilty sod And to become the Lamb of God.

My sin—O the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more;

Amazing love!  How can it be That You, my God, would die for me?

He could have called 10,000 angels, but He died alone, for you and me.

Soon Thou wilt come again:  I shall be happy then, Jesus, my Lord!
Then Thine own face I’ll see; Then I shall like Thee be,
Then evermore with Thee, Jesus, my Lord!

I behold You, my Lord and my King—in You, Jesus, I find ev’ry thing.
And now truly my worship I bring To You and unto You sing.
In beholding the glorious Son, my eyes see the Magnificent One,
And His splendor, as bright as the sun, reveals me: I am undone.

The Supper

Dad passed from this life on November 28, 2017, and I am of the distinct impression that he is experiencing a richer “communion” now.

Make it more an “us” thing

Some years ago, in my younger, more brash days, I took a complete stranger to task.  Well, at least that’s how it ended up going.

The impetus was a simple article in a church bulletin — not my church, but one in my college town that I have connections with.  The subject was missing tables and chairs.  Apparently, several of these items had been borrowed and had not been returned in a timely way, and the church office/ministerial staff was taking a hard line.  Lots of “we” vs “you” language was used, and it … shall we say … piqued my interest.  The staff was assuming and asserting authority over tables and chairs and people–strongly suggesting that they be returned.

Now, it’s fine to remind each other to be courteous and considerate, but the wording and assumptions can belie something unbiblical in terms of church hierarchy.  If we’re not careful, in making it a “we”-must-remind-“you” thing, we may be perpetuating an authoritarian, institutional model of the church.  Never should any church “officer” assert himself as dictator over the fellow subjects of our monarch, Jesus.

So, after writing an inquisitive, challenging letter to the church, I got a handwritten note back from an underling staff minister in which he took a condescending tone, didn’t answer any of my questions, and invited me to call “at my expense” if I were “indeed concerned.”

Well, pardon me, but I was obviously concerned, or I wouldn’t have taken the time to write a full-page letter.  I think that spoke for itself.  Yeah, I was a little out of line and apparently completely unwelcome in my epistolary “outreach” to this church that wasn’t even my church.  I still think I was right, but I could have just left it alone.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a note about a similar problem appeared in our church bulletin at Lawson Road.  I’m happy to report that this had a much better tone than the one from 1991 in Searcy, Arkansas:


Somehow, that sounds better to me.  It sounds like “we’re all in this together” rather than “we are telling you what the rules are, and we are the boss of you.”  Bravo, Tina and Lawson Road.  Let’s all make church more of an “us” thing than a “we” vs. “you” thing.