Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Cost

In the middle of all of this (it's probably just the beginning) I find myself staring down into a silver communion cup. The bread (His body shed for me) is dry in my mouth and I'm just staring into this cup and it might go on forever because Jesus is asking me the question and I don't know the answer: “Is it worth what it costs?”

Communion is one of my biggest spiritual pet-peeves. Here's why:

  1. If done correctly, it is almost always awkward.

  2. No one knows why they do it (all that awkwardness for nothing)

  3. If you start to ask Jesus why this might be something that matters, then Jesus asks you questions you can't answer like, “Is it worth what it costs?”

  4. Those wafers are sick

Jesus died. I eat, I drink, I remember. Check.

Staring into that cup today, I remembered more. Like, that prayer Jesus prays the night he is betrayed in John 17. “My prayer is...for those who will believe in me... that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.”

Jesus died for his Church. His imperfect, terrible, beautiful, tragic Church that he loves with the kind of love that bends down to wash his betrayers' dirty feet even though the betrayal is going to be profound. A bunch of dirty feet attached to men who refuse to hear anything but what they want to hear. Men that make promises they can't keep. These men would walk away from him. Lie. Fail. Again and again and again. And he's bent down washing their feet. He's praying for them in the garden with blood like sweat pouring down his face. He's going to the cross and taking the shame and taking the sin. For this, His church. And then we remember that he told us to remember this. Do this, in remembrance of me.

I've been failed.


And I fail.


I think we would like to believe that Jesus didn't care. That when he turned his head to Peter as that third rooster crowed, Jesus shrugged and thought, “Oh well, I'm cool with the Father. Who needs these chums?” And what do I know? Maybe that's what it was like. But this unaffected Jesus is neither attractive to me or fitting with what I know to be true of God or God's Word.

It mattered. It matters. Jesus' death and the events leading up to it lose their whole meaning if you take away the fact that loving people involves risk. Our God RISKS. He FEELS. He is MOVED. And loving people like Jesus loved them will ALWAYS involve the same. A gospel that tells us different- that there is a way to live without the profound pain of the Church's inevitable failure- is not a gospel I believe in. There is no intimacy without conflict. Avoiding conflict and avoiding pain is avoiding true community. A community we were made for, a community Jesus prayed for, a community Jesus died for.

A community that costs.

I drank from that cup today. I told Jesus, “yes.” It's worth the pain. It's worth the failure. I NEED community in all of it's beauty and tragedy. It's worth what it costs.

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