Thursday, May 7, 2015


Those symbols that you're holdin'; well, are they only tokens?
Can they change others? Have they changed you?

Those symbols that you're holdin’; well, are they only tokens?
Do they represent something deeper to you? Do they represent Someone steadfast and true?

Those symbols that you're holdin’; well, are they only tokens?
Can you explain their meaning to somebody new? What is it that those symbols do for you?

Those symbols that you're holdin’; well, are they only tokens? Is there substance to what you believe?

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"  1 Corinthians 10:16 (KJV)

         What I am about to say is a personal reflection. My statement is not to be heard in a judgmental tone at all. If anything, it is a sad commentary on my Christian walk. Over the years I've seen many people make a confession of faith (myself included), but I have known very few to show real lifestyle changes (myself leading the pack). Please listen with a broken and contrite heart. And, if your experience matches my own, resolve to be part of the solution — not part of the problem. Today many people know about Christ, but few develop a relationship with Him by living according to His teachings. We pick and choose our churches, bible translations, doctrines and associations. We approach our faith the way we order a hamburger — you know — the “Have it Your Way” approach. In all honesty I struggle with the Christian faith and practices, as we know them.  I feel like I’m looking for balance with blinders on.

         Frankly, I am confused by what I see. We have two “Christian Camps” like some kind of holy political affiliation reflected in the Church today and each takes an unrelenting stand against the other. Please realize, I am over simplifying this to make a point; but we have either “Anything Goes” or “All Things Forbidden”.  I am not talking about going back through time and recreating a society that does not make use of technology or denying science (except in the cases of evolution, and abortion). I am not talking about making every issue either so weighty or so frivolous that everything and nothing is of consequence. I am talking about taking the principles from God's Word and applying them to every day life. I am talking about being informed and relevant in our cultural context. I am talking about finding balance and agreement, being a Christian is not being closed off from society. It is being aware of the needs of society and working with the help of the Holy Spirit to meet the needs represented in society. How has knowing Christ changed us? How will knowing Christ change our world? (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

         Experiences change our lives. I've been thinking about Holy Communion and what it actually means to me. For a along time, as a teen and young adult, it was just something the church practiced once a month. I grew up in a church with very little formal liturgy. There was always an order of service, and a sense of order within the congregation but no programmed prayers, or religious rites. Therefore, communion had no deep meaning, for me, and I had no special interest in attempting to understand the symbolism of the activity. However, in the last few years, I have come to understand that we need symbols in order to call to mind all that was done in our behalf. What changed? I experienced “The Stations Of The Cross”, and one extremely powerful spiritual retreat presented from another denominational perspective. At first, all the ritual and clerical robes took me aback, but as the weekend progressed I truly experienced the Grace and Love of God in a fresh way.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

            Liturgy is not bad if we go beyond the symbols and find their meaning. Too often,
Christians do not search for the meaning; they idolize the symbols. Putting the symbols proudly on display does not constitute a life changing experience. What we should be doing is building up our faith in Christ Jesus, and encouraging those who follow after us in the next generation. But, what I have seen is more along the lines of displaying Christian knickknacks than building a true and living faith. (I Peter 1:3-5)

         God has promised to write His laws on the hearts and minds of His people. He has further promised not to remember our corrupt and lawless deeds. This is all accomplished through our acceptance of the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. If we choose not to follow or accept this sacrifice we will not be found guiltless. Once we have made a declaration of faith we are bound to become the agents of change in our generation. (Hebrews 10:18-23)

         It is only through remembering what has been done for us, and through stepping out into what God has called us to do for Him that we can experience the joy of salvation. I am not talking about a salvation based on works, but one built on sharing the grace of God with others. I think about the symbols of Christianity and how they are displayed often. I must examine my walk daily to be sure I do not idolize the symbolism and place it above the faith it represents. My faith must be Christ centered. My life must reflect the Savior to whom I belong.

            I challenge you to also examine your walk. Please join me in building on the foundation of faith that is our heritage. We have received a great faith; let's exercise the faith and not merely display the symbols. To Whom do you give glory? What is your situation and Who is Lord of it? Allow the God experiences in your life to touch the lives of others. 

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