The Hope Of Glory (Col 1:27)

Again, I need to remind you that I have been prompted and substantially helped by Eugene Peterson in his book, "Christ Plays In 10,000 Places."
We will start with this verse, Colossians, one-twentyseven:
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The world - it is a mess.
History shows this to us, the newspaper jounalisically reports that fact, and when we examine our own lives we can testify and confess: we are a mess. But the gospel message brings hope - salvation from our (diplomatically phrased) "mess."
OK, let's be clear: it is not our “mess;” it is our disobedience and sin.
But this begs a question: what is left for us to do? In our theology of sin and salvation, we reflexively respond, "Nothing! Christ has done it all!"
Jesus does tell us to still do some things. Look at Luke 22:19.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Jesus tell his disciples, both then and now, to do some thing. We are to do the "Eucharist," as many other believers call the Lord's Table. And faithful followers of Christ have done exactly that ever since.
We receive Christ crucified in our remembrance of him - his death as his body was broken and his blood poured out for our sins.
We receive what God has offered to us - and we sit at table and eat it.
And … We become what we receive.
Remember when your parents used to say, "You are what you eat?" It was meant to encourage the consumption of wholesome foods. And then we would smart-alekey about it and retort: "If I eat only carrots, am I going to become a giant carrot?" and then imagine ourselves like some cartoonish character.
But God says, "Yes!" to that: we become what we receive.
Remember our last sermon series? Paul encourages his friends in Philippi to receive in their minds those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, loving, and commendable - those things that are worthy of praise. And as we receive those things, because of our relationship to the resurrected Christ – we become more like those things … more like Jesus himself.
In our celebration this morning, we acknowledge our responsibility to become what we receive. It is as we remember Christ that we both symbolically and mystically receive him. Jesus said, "This is my body, which is given for you" and "This cup that is poured out for you..." "Do this in remembrance of me."
We become what we receive.
As we received Christ, we became righteous in him. We remember, "Christ in you [and me!], the hope of glory!"
Now - let me make this clear - you do not become a follower of Jesus by eating the bread or drinking of the cup. The bread and cup are only for believers - those who recognize their sin before God and put their confidence in Jesus' atoning death as the substitute for the penalty they deserve. Basically, you can't get to second base until you touch first. There is no effect on a person taking bread and cup unless that person is a believer.
What the bread and cup do for the believer is that each time we do this little feast of remembrance, we strengthen the mental links that connect us not only to Christ's death for our sins; but also his institution of this time we are sharing now. Even back to the Passover. And further still when we became disobedient through the eating, the ingestion, the reception of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Each time we do the Lord's Table, we are reminded of the grand sweep of redemptive history.
Additionally, ,it is fitting that we do this on the first day of the week. It is a reminder that before we do anything for God in our jobs, in the home, at school, out shopping or running errands; we receive what God has done for us in Christ.
Don't you find it startling that, given all the conflicts and variations of practice across the Christian church throughout the millennia, that this reception has been so consistently done in response to Jesus' command?
We become what we receive.
That's how God made us. Our minds become what we think. That's why we gather - together - to remember him. "Christ in you - the hope of glory!"

This morning is an opportunity to re-commit to become what we have received.

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