Communion Letter: Oct. 6th
Dear Family at Christ Community,
On Sunday, we will have the freedom in Christ to receive nourishment in the Spirit from God’s Word and the Lord’s Table. In further revelation of Joel 2:12-17, the elements will remind us that the Lord our God who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love has in fact relented from judging us in our sin which has been placed on Christ on the cross and has left a blessed meal for us to celebrate as His sons and daughters. The broken bread will help strengthen us in our forgiveness in Christ alone so as to be able to forgive others and welcome them to this same table in Christ. The lavishly filled cup will embolden our hearts to walk in newness of life to display the glory of God as His heritage for the life of the world. Because of the finished work of Christ applied to us in the power of the Holy Spirit by faith alone through God’s grace alone, we can come humbly and boldly to the table with our whole heart sincerely thankful for God’s redeeming love for us. Because of the total thoroughness of the Gospel, we don’t have to hide or be ashamed to repent of any part of our sin that has captured our heart. As John Calvin writes concerning Joel 2:12-17 in Commentary on Joel, we can come with our whole heart because of God’s grace:
Even now, he says, turn ye to me with your whole heart. The Prophet here reminds us that we must not act feignedly with God; for men are ever disposed to trifle with him. We indeed see what almost the whole world is wont to do. God graciously meets us and is ready to receive us unto favor, though we have a hundred times alienated ourselves from him; but we bring nothing but hypocrisy and disguise: hence the Prophet declares here distinctly, that this dissimulation does not please God, and that they can hide nothing, who only pretend some sort of repentance by external signs, and that what is required is the serious and sincere feeling of the heart. This is what he means by the whole heart; not that perfect repentance can be formed in men, but the whole or complete heart is opposed to a divided heart: for men well understand that God is not ignorant; yet they divide their heart, and when they bestow some portion on God, they think that he is satisfied; and in the meantime there remains an interior and some hidden perverseness, which separates them far from God. This vice the Prophet now condemns, when he says, Turn with the whole heart. He then shows that it is an hypocrisy abominable to God, when men keep the greater part of their heart, as it were, closed up, and think it enough, if only they bring, so to speak, some volatile feeling.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the parts of your heart that you hold back from the Lord due to shame and guilt. Ask the Spirit to apply the healing balm of the Gospel to those wounded and broken aspects of your heart and life. Seek to be nourished by the truth of the Gospel to be free to repent fully through the means of grace throughout worship on Sunday. Forgive as you so thoroughly, mercifully, and graciously have been forgiven, being restored in relationship, where possible for the glory of God and the life of the world. Come expecting to experience the goodness and love of God!