Silent Night and Communion at Nursing Home

We had a wonderful time at Watermark Assisted Living yesterday afternoon. If you are interested at how we put things together for the nursing home outreach, I will be posting a few more of the videos of our caroling over at Walking With Lambs later on today. We had folks come from not only the assisted living, but also memory care and independent living. It was an especially touching experience, and I so appreciated all the new volunteers who showed up to make this possible (even Mr. and Mrs. Santa along with their granddaughter elf!)

In today’s crazy world, we need to rest in Jesus Christ, trusting that no matter what is going on, that in His presence there can still be a silent and holy night. We can still find the baby lying in a manger and we must still treasure those moments in our hearts.  

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:16-19 ESV

Saving the Best for Last

And Last He took the Cup

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 ESV

While we listened to quiet music, preparing to receive communion last Sunday, my mind turned back fifty years to memories of a farm where we once lived. In those days, my mornings began at a quarter to five. In the chilly darkness, I would stumble out to the barn where, our cow Blondie waited for me to bring her ground corn and hay. As I went about my work, she contentedly munched on ground corn and Kansas City, our cat watched expectantly hoping for the few drops of milk I sometimes sent her way. Twenty minutes later I would return with a bucket of warm fresh milk. This was poured through cheese cloth and allowed to settle, till the cream rose to the top. That cream we skimmed off and set aside. That very best part of the milk we saved for last.

And saving the best for last, is exactly what Jesus did at the very first communion table. While the disciples were still arguing over which of them was most important, Christ took the precious bread and the cup to try and show them what must soon happen on a terrible cross, waiting just up the road for Him. After three years, during which they had shared countless adventures, sailed through storms and seen miracles, the disciples still had much to learn. So, as they sat together at the Last Supper, Jesus gave thanks, then took the bread saying, “This is my body,” and then the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood.”

Two thousand years later it is no different. We still have the privilege with uncounted millions of others who have believed before us, to drink His cup, and remember that for Jesus, it meant the cross. For Him that cup was filled with suffering, but He drank off its bitterness and left for us the sweetness of the best for last. This New Covenant cup, bought with His blood, for us is filled with mercy, love and eternal life. All that Jesus asks us is that as we receive, we remember Him – until He comes again!

Meeting Jesus In the Garden

Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. John 20:14 ESV

Did you know that in the old hymn, “In the Garden” the place which Austin Miles wrote of was not just some bed of roses, but rather the garden where Jesus rose. Though many dismiss the lyrics as overly sentimental, I find that, the words “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own,” actually outline the three elements of communion.

There are many parts of a worship service, but the most important, is neither the singing nor the preaching but rather the presence of Jesus. Jesus has kept His church alive for 2,000 years and He comes most clearly to meet us in the communion. As the lyrics say, “And He walks with me.” Jesus died and rose again and in that moment He walked once again in the garden with Mary. He came while she was alone, weeping and looking for Him. Next the lyrics say, “And He talks with me.” For two thousand years, Jesus has been speaking. “This is my body which is given for you.” and “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.” echo down through time, Every time we receive them, we hear His voice again.

Lastly, Mary falls down to worship. The Bible tells us that at the end of the Last Supper, Jesus sang a hymn with His friends. Just as Mary bowed and the disciples sang, there is a joy filled pause after we have received the bread and the cup. They remind us again that “the joy we share as we tarry there, none other, has ever known!”