Eucharist

Eucharist is a powerful word.  It is attached intrinsically to worship and specifically to the remembrance of our Lord as we come to the Table.  My purpose in bringing up this word today has little if anything to do with divisions over sacramental and/or ordinance understandings of the Table of our Lord.  And harder yet is resisting the temptation to get on my soapbox as to the need I believe we have as Baptists to make the Table more central in our worship and to be more frequent with our participation.  Those discussions are for another time, and there are some wonderful books that help us work through those doctrinal issues.

 

The very word, “eucharist” is rooted in thanksgiving.  I certainly do not mean the November holiday (we’re a long way off from that), but rather I mean the heart posture of gratitude.  The word is verb and noun in our usage related to worship, eucharisteo or eucharistia, though both should lead us toward the same kinds of actions and spirit.  To meditate on eucharist is to consider “charis” (gift) and “chara” (joy) and to worship at the cross where the debt for our sin was paid.  When worship truly lifts up Christ, our gratitude expands to the One who created all things, in Whom all things hold together, and the One who prepares a place and table for us, Who will return again as Triumphant King.  It’s the big picture!  For your life, yes, but for the whole cosmos!  Worshiping in the spirit of gratitude embodies the Jesus Who shows me how to respond to my own failures and empowers me to forgive others.

 

Gratitude for what?  Absolutely everything large and small.  Consider that Jesus at the Last Supper gave thanks for bread and wine, the most mundane of daily sustenance.  Just before facing the horror of the cross, Jesus gives thanks for the simplest blessing.  At the recommendation of close friend and brother in Christ, Todd Brady, I am reading a book by Ann Vosklamp, A Thousand Gifts, in which she begins a list to write down one thousand gifts for which she is grateful.  I resonate deeply with such a project.  If you have a day of drifting into a funk, I encourage you to do the same.  If you are like me, it won’t take you long to be overwhelmed by the blessing of God’s goodness, His givingness.  As I address in my book, I believe worship is life, and vice versa, life is worship – everybody and everything included.  The question is what we worship.  Contemplating God’s givingness is overwhelming.  As I grasp life as grace gift I am drawn all the more to the giving God; Father, Son, and Spirit.  In my case, I think about the beautiful faces of my grandchildren, and the instant healing that comes through their smiles and laughter – thank God.  I reminisce on romantic evenings with my bride, sunny days on my grandpa’s farm – the smell of fresh hay, the simplest pleasures like showering after working up a fierce sweat – thank God.  The smell of Mom’s Apple pie, or the calm brought about by Dad’s voice when it was still strong – soft spoken strength that could move mountains of frustration – thank God.  It is hard to stop typing as more and more things flood my mind, from any perspective, the largest thoughts my mind can imagine, or the most minute detail of life – thank God.  And on it goes. Overwhelming.I wonder if that word is implied in Eucharist as well.  Is Eucharistic living living that is so grateful as to be overwhelmed with God’s gift of grace to the point of true joy regardless of consequences or circumstances?

 

Worship Leaders, live a Eucharistic life!  There is plenty of biblical compulsion to live this way, even to make music in this spirit. (Col 3:16-17) “Singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”  “And whatever you do whether in word or in deed” . (whole life worship).  Your music selection and leadership approach will be deeply affected by such a lifestyle.  Yes, there are challenges beyond our control.  Yes, there are negative people and negative occurrences that taint our perspective in a given moment, BUT thanks be to God, even these are life gift.  Yes, there are days of sorrow and lament and indecision, even these are life gift.  Thanks be to God!

 

Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing,
Worship, thanks, devotion voicing:
Glory be to God on high!
Christ, your cross and passion sharing,
By this Eucharist declaring
Yours the final victory.

 

With deep gratitude in my heart unto God for all of you,

Paul

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Church Music, Leading Worship, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts

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