Monday, January 16, 2012

Ember Monday

Last night was the third week in our series The Gospel (According to Mark). We covered Mark 3:7-35 in a sermon called The Family. It was a different kind of preaching experience for me because, rather than taking one central idea and working it out for a half hour, I went through the text section by section, treating each one independently. Normally, I don't like to preach that way, but the passage I chose was so long, and so full, that I didn't know how else to attack it.

Something huge that came out of the text, for me, was what Jesus was doing when he appointed his disciples. He chose 12 men, which is, for Israel, a tremendously significant number. There were 12 tribes of Israel--12 sons of Jacob--that formed the original nation. Jesus, by choosing 12 men to be his inner circle, was symbolically reestablishing Israel, recreating the nation of God's people. And here's the kicker: He put himself at the center.

What's so significant about that? Well, consider who was previously at the center of Israel. Who was the first one to establish Israel? Who was in the center of the camp as the 12 tribes moved through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land? It was YHWH. Does that mean that Jesus is replacing YHWH? No, it means that Jesus is YHWH, and that he is replacing the YHWH the people thought they knew. Jesus replaces the God you thought you knew. Everything you thought you knew about God is refined and corrected in Jesus.

Giving communion to one another at Ember.
At the end of the sermon we took communion. We did it in a way that was outside of typical. Normally, communion will be passed down the aisles or administered at the front of the church by the priest or pastor. In order to demonstrate that we are a family in Jesus, I had us administer communion to one another. We formed a line (that's what's happening in the picture), and each person administered the elements to the person behind them in line, saying, "The body of Christ, broken for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you." For me, it was a profound picture of the church in action, giving one another the sacred body and blood of Christ, providing the spiritual sustenance to each other we all so desperately need.

Ember Church meets every Sunday evening at 5:00. We rent a beautiful church called The American Baptist of Westerville, which is at 401 E. Schrock Rd. in Westerville, Ohio. Please feel free to come be a part of our community.

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