(For Part I)
There is only One Perfect Relationship
The good thing about relationships is that they model, usually by contrast, the completeness that we will find in relationship with Christ. With any human relationship, we will be disappointed. At some point, the best human relationship will fall short, if we are honest with ourselves. As wives, friends, mothers, siblings, daughters, we will fail as well.
There will be times when we are unable or unwilling to come through for the people we love. It may come down to our own physical frailty. But more often, it comes down to an unwillingness to give of ourselves in some way at a time when it is just too difficult!
We are going through a personal crisis. We are blind to the other person’s need. We are amazingly clueless at a time when we should have been more aware. Most often? We are incredibly self-centered and don’t want to give of a part of ourselves that is needed.
Those are the times when we wake up to our own frailties and failures as humans. When we realize our standards for those we love may have been too high and impossible (like those that I had for my parents!) But most of all, we are sinners. We must repent and seek forgiveness…and with it, we must change!
Forgiveness is Wonderful, but it takes Our Sin to Make us Appreciate It
When we begin to taste the wine of forgiveness, it is often mixed with bitterness. In tasting forgiveness, we taste the bitter truth of our failures…but we also begin to taste of the rich grace of GOD. We look around in this real world where we live and suddenly become aware of all those around us who have been giving us this gift of forgiveness for years!
We were so focused on ourselves and our needs, on what we wanted and didn’t have, on how we didn’t think we were measuring up to the expectations of others…maybe even that they were disapproving of us. Then our eyes are opened to the richness of the gift of grace GOD has given us through other people in our lives. People we often took for granted.
Communion: A Concrete Illustration of GOD’s Forgiveness and Grace
Once we begin tasting the wine and bread, represented in the Lord’s Supper, Communion! We taste God’s forgiveness…preceded by our sorrow for sin, our desire to change. We begin to taste…and drink of the lavish forgiveness that only GOD can give us. It isn’t because we have done anything to deserve it. In fact, we have done NOTHING to deserve it…and will never be able to.
And what does Communion represent? Relationship. At last! It isn’t fluffy. It is that deep soul satisfaction of being accepted…not because of our cuteness, stylish clothing or new hairdo. We are accepted at a much deeper level than that! It isn’t because of anything external. It is because GOD has loved us, in the middle of our mess, He loved us just as we were…but won’t leave us there!