What a weekend! One couple committing to a new future together, another celebrating a major milestone and a big reminder of the ultimate expression of love.
You may have noticed it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. You may also have noticed the little counter that is on the right of my homepage has now gone from counting DOWN to my borthers wedding and is now counting the days SINCE the wedding!
Yup, at long last my cute ickle baby bruvver (can’t resist I’m afraid bro!) has gotten married and boy has he managed to punch above his weight finding someone charming, witty, patient and who looked gorgeous in her wedding dress (OK – I promise I’ll stop picking on you now Roo :-D)
With our daughter as a bridesmaid, me as an usher, and plenty of other things happening it was always going to be a huge build up to the big day. What also added to the weekend was the fact that my Mum & Dad celebrated 40 years of marriage! I was priveleged to be asked to do a cake for the event (which Mrs H baked and I decorated, with an additional surprise of some chocolate and some jammy cupcakes for good measure). I was also honoured to be asked to lead communion following my parents renewing their wedding vows.
I guess this would be a good point to Congratulate Mr & Mrs Hartley Jr and also to offer huge respect and congrats to the patriarch and matriarch of the Hartley Clan!
It was really rather odd in some ways as on the one hand Mrs H and I were watching two people embark on a journey that we’ve been travelling for the past 12 years, and then we were looking ahead at an inspirational and great example of what love and marriage should be like after so many years. Reflection and Vision in the space of two days, not a bad thing really (tiredness and hectic arrangements aside!)
Being asked to lead the communion on the Sunday was a great blessing for me, and I found myself being given a clear direction straight away. As much for my own memory as anything (although I do hope that you will be blessed by it) I thought I’d share my communion notes below. They’re not polished or honed particularly but represent the outpouring of what I felt God wanted to convey through the act of sharing the bread and wine.
Communion. The most intimate act we can ever know
Communion in the dictionary is defined as: com·mun·ion [kuh-myoon-yuhn]
interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication
They act of sharing, or holding in common; participation.
If there is one overriding theme this weekend, it’s Love.
With my baby brother getting married yesterday, and my parents celebrating 40 years of marriage today, it’s also a weekend of commitment, of promise, of covenant and relationship. It’s a time of intimacy and the wonder and mystery of two becoming one.
Our relationship with God takes all of this, and far exceeds what we can fully understand. He is our Father. The Holy Spirit is our companion and guide. Christ is our brother, saviour, Lord and lover of our souls. There’s an intimacy between us and Jesus that exceeds that which those of us who are married share with our other halves.
It goes beyond that though as there is even more to our relationship with Him because, as a church, we are to be the bride of Christ.
The relationship that God the Father, Spirit and Son wants to have with us is so close, so intimate, so complete that it encompasses, and is the ultimate version of, every type of positive relationship that we can have on earth.
Communion is one more expression of that complete devotion towards us. Just as a Bride and Groom give to each other fully, so Jesus is giving fully to us through a piece of bread and a sip of wine. It is a symbol of Jesus, the groom, giving himself completely over to his bride.
Through this simple act the all-embracing relationship with the trinity is demonstrated to us.
1 John 4:10 – THIS IS LOVE: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took some bread. He gave thanks and then he broke it, giving it to the disciples as an act of remembrance. Likewise He took a cup of wine, gave thanks again and passed it to the disciples. The bread to remind us that His body was sacrificed for us, the wine for the blood that was shed as He suffered and died for us all.
That’s love. That’s commitment. That’s intimacy.
As the bread and the cup are brought to you, I pray that you will feel that ultimate and perfect Love coming from heaven. If you don’t feel able to take communion then please let them pass you by – but know that this Love isn’t passing you by and is there for you as much as for anyone.