Monday, April 14, 2008

Overwhelmed By Grace

We partook of the Lord's Supper yesterday morning and I was (and am) particularly affected by the sermon and the service. Earlier in the service two adults were baptized and, as is our practice, they gave a brief testimony of God's redeeming work in their lives as they stood in the waters. Both were greatly moving depictions of His love and grace, transforming lives from misery and hopelessness to peace and hope in Christ. Our pastor's message from I Cor 11, the standard texts for the observance was far from "usual" in that he was greatly empowered by the Holy Spirit to communicate to us (to me, at least) a vivid remembrance of my Savior's body and blood and a fervent longing for His return. He had spoken of our Lord's body being "crushed" as Isa 53:10 is rendered in the ESV (Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; ) The use of "bruised" in the KJV seems weak to us today; being bruised is no big thing. But Jesus was crushed for me! As he spoke about the bread he said, as I have heard others say but not with such convicting power, it would be so much more meaningful if we had a chunk of bread rather than those little Baptist crumbs we use--a chunk of bread from which we would tear pieces--symbolically tearing His body as it was torn for us. Because it was us, it was me, who tore His was for my sin that the Father crushed Him.

So, as the elements were passed to the congregation, I took my little wafer and, as I have always done because I have this dread of ever dropping it, I held it tightly between my index finger and my thumb. This particular wafer had a big air pocket and not much substance. As I squeezed it, making sure I didn't drop it, I crushed it in my fingers. I am incapable of writing well enough to convey how this affected me. Tears well up even now, 36 hours later, as I try to write this. I crushed it. I crushed Him. He was wounded for my transgressions; He was crushed for my iniquities. It was me! It was not some amorphous group of "them" There is no anonymity available in the Truth of His death. It was me. Horatius Bonar wrote:

'Twas I that shed that sacred Blood,
I nailed him to the Tree,
I crucified the Christ of God,
I joined the mockery.

But that's not the end........

He died that death willingly, for the joy that was set before Him.
He died that death willingly, to reconcile me to God.
He died that death willingly, out of Love:
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Bonar concludes:

Yet not the less that Blood avails
to cleanse me from sin,
and not the less that Cross prevails
to give me peace within

Yes, I crushed Him. But the Blood avails; the Cross prevails!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!


Anonymous said...

I was never given the gift of writing my heart on paper. I am so thankful that the Lord has bestowed this gift on you. I cried also reading about what our Lord and Savior did for us. Thank God for saving wretches such as we. I thank you for reminding me. God bless you.


Anonymous said...

i am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading what you wrote. grace truly is overwhelming. God truly is kind for showing us glimpses like this. thank you for sharing.

i look forward to continually being overwhelmed by His amazing grace!