"Gather" by Jennifer Phillips
Notes for communion message at Genesis Church, Carrara, 4/10/20
We do this in remembrance of Jesus, don’t we?
As I was preparing for this talk, I remembered something my sister said last year. She’s a musical pilgrim and has been walking around Europe for about 10 or 15 years. She said to me, “Don’t forget mum.” If she’d said, “don’t forget Dad,” that would have a completely different meaning because Dad died a few years back. Not forgetting him would mean remembering the past. Mum however is alive, so remembering her means Skyping her and talking to her.
Well Jesus isn’t dead is He? He is right here with us. So what does remembering Him mean?
Talk to Him? Include Him in our conversations? Arrow prayers like this?
Lord, speak through me. Help me pass on the message you have given me.
This week I dreamt I was asked to speak in church. I said to the people, “Remember. Para as in Paraclete means gather.” The next day I read a message from Bruce asking me if I’d give the communion talk. So now the dream has come to pass.
How many of you have heard of the Greek word Paraclete? Who does it refer to?
Yes it’s widely known that the Holy Spirit is the Paraclete but not so widely known that Jesus is also called the Paraclete. What does that mean?
An advocate, an intercessor, one who comes along side.
Para means side by side or near, so why did I say it meant gather in my dream?
When I asked the lord what He wanted me to say about this, He brought an image of our social distancing seating into my mind. Jesus wants us to see something today. We used to gather together and stand side by side physically, but were we really that close? Are we keeping our distance from others even though from the outside it looks like we are close? Is this what our relationships really look like to Jesus? Are we gathering?
Jesus doesn’t want us to keep our distance, not from Him or from one another. He wants our relationships close particularly while we practice social distancing. He wants us to stand with each other, come along side each other, get to know him and each other better.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem and lamented saying, “How often I have wanted to gather your children together, the way a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” God has a mother’s heart. He wants to hold us close. He yearns for us to gather.
In the Scriptures, John wrote, that the high priest prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, but not for the nation only, but also that he might gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
Jesus often gathered his disciples in a close way, to sit with them, talk with them, celebrate with them and eat with them. Maybe He wants some of us to invite others round for a meal so we might get to know each other better. How can we stand side by side if we don’t know each other?
Let’s read about one of the meals Jesus had with His disciples
“While they were eating Jesus took bread, spoke a blessing and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, “Drink from it all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins.”
Hebrews 8:11 tells us about this covenant.
“For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. I will put My laws in their minds and inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will each one teach his neighbour or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their iniquities and will remember their sins no more.”
Remember the promise. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God won’t keep bringing them up and nor should we.
God’s desire is to be known. Christ in us - That’s what the new covenant is all about.
We no longer need to keep our distance from God or each other because our sins can be dealt with. Christ can be in us, side by side and that’s as close as it’s possible to get. He’s our Paraclete. He’s on our side. He sides with us, and He yearns for us to gather.
Lets take a moment of silence before Jesus.
We bless you Lord, You have redeemed our life from the pit. You pardon all our sins. As far as the east is from the west so far you have removed our transgressions from us. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is your lovingkindness towards those who fear You and just as a father has compassion on his children, so You have compassion on us.
Thank you Jesus for your body broken for us and your blood poured out for us. We accept your new covenant. Christ in us. We want to know you and each other better. Just like the bread we eat, You are in us. We drink from your cup of salvation and blessing. Thank you.