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Eat Well To Be Healthy

“Do this in remembrance of Me”  -I Corinthians 11:24, 25

Methodism was in part a sacramental revival.  One reason it became a church was so American Methodists could receive the Sacraments.  To John Wesley, especially the Lord’s Supper/Communion was  necessary “if not to the being, at least to the well-being of a church.”1 Albert Outler said Wesley believed it to be “literally indispensable in the Christian life.”2

The Lord’s Supper (Wesley’s preferred term) should be received at least weekly, in practice for him every 4-5 days.  After his experience at Aldersgate, where he felt his “heart strangely warmed,” it took on an even deeper meaning for him.  The Sacrament had no intrinsic power but it was the Spirit working through it.

Wesley insisted that it was not just for Christians or those who had been converted but for anyone who was seeking God.

It is extremely significant that the central meaning of the Christian life is expressed in a Sacrament, a sign.  It reminds us that this life is not in words alone, but something more.  There is, at its center a reality of God’s presence and activity—an experience.

Certainly that should be clear to anyone who truly participates in the Lord’s Supper.

Yet, in spite of this regular reminder, we have more often than not failed to either teach or to live on the basic premise of the gospel—life consists of more than the physical world. There is a spiritual world, as real (in fact, more real) than what we can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear.

Furthermore it can be known and experienced.  Jesus has invaded the physical world and forever brought the two together.

Perhaps, the reason we often fail in our attempts to live and transmit the gospel is that we believe it is a philosophy, an ideology rather than God breaking into our lives. In I Corinthians 11, spiritual weakness is traced to a misuse of or misunderstanding of the sacrament.

We often ask the wrong question—
“How can I convince myself of this story?”
rather than
“How can I be open to God?  How can I experience God?”

A primary way is by coming to the Lord’s table to eat and drink and participate in this holy mystery.

 

1William Willimon
2Steven Harper
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