There is only one ritual in the church that almost every denomination can agree upon, and that is the taking of communion. We celebrate the last supper where Jesus broke the bread and gave the cup. The words he said are timeless: "Do this in memory of me".
What do you think about when you remember Jesus? Many will remember him doing miracles. Many will see him teaching. Some will think about the bloody and cruel Passion Week. But for me, I think about the type of people he chose to hang around with. It wasn't the elite "cream of the crop" that he surrounded himself with. It was the lowest by man's standards. His disciples were stinky fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots. And he did much of his ministry to those who were shunned by society: prostitutes, lepers, and the like. He showed unconditional love to those who were unlovable. And he gave a second chance to many who had completely screwed up their lives.
If we are to be "Christ like", we must do the same. In fact, he tells us that during the judgment, we will be held accountable on how we loved the unlovable.
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me, you did it to me." Matthew 25:39-40 (The Message)
It's easy to love those who love us back, and associate ourselves with the movers and shakers of society. It's fun and it feeds our ego. But what about the homeless, addicts, offenders, terrorists, AIDS victims, and murderers? Can we love them and welcome them into the church with open arms? God has another perspective because he is a God of grace, and His mercy endures forever.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO RICHARD THOMPSONI've loved the musicianship of Richard Thompson ever since the late sixties when he was a founding member of Fairport Convention. This song might sum up the entire New Testament in three minutes. Turn up the speakers. It's called "God Loves a Drunk".
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42 (New International Version)
Do something for someone who can never repay you. They just might be a special person to the one who made them.