24 September 2015

What Are You Thinking? - Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

1 Cor. 11:24-34

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

During the week, as I pondered ideas for this morning, I found myself drawn back to last week’s sermon and the discussion on taking the name of the Lord in vain, and an idea of connecting that thought to the Lord’s Supper.

For me, growing up these past couple of decades within the Reformed church, I have been one of those like David discussed, that was always conscious of watching my mouth so as not to just flippantly use the Lord’s name in a way that is demeaning or lacking real thought.

Now, I agree, the term “God” is not the actual name of anyone, but for most people, and I include myself, in ignorance it is still considered to be a name of sorts. In essence we knew when we said God that we were referring to a general name used to mean Yahweh in essence.

The thought process was – we should never call out to God unless we are really truly thinking about him when we do so. Most people say “Oh My God” and never once actually think of Yahweh – it just becomes a habitual expression with no meaning at all.

The same with “God bless you” – most everyone in the circles I hung out with had also stopped using that phrase because it was something that was just said out of habit without ever a thought on God.

Basically, the idea was to seek to retrain our minds to avoid addressing God without truly thinking about him. While it may be a bit overboard, or fencing the laws, it did help to make us more aware of our speech at times.

Now, when it comes to the Lord’s Supper, it struck me just how easy it is to allow this time to become a habitual ritual with no engaging of mind and spirit. This becomes more of a danger for churches that do it more frequently like us – as the frequency of it can easily allow us to fall into a pattern of going through the motions without serious thought to what we are doing.

In so doing, we may be similarly sitting here doing it in vain. We must not allow ourselves to sit here and let this time become just a habit of sort of listening, sort of thinking, and sort of participation.

If we are to truly seek to experience the richness that the Lord has for us at his table, we must not come here with a spirit of neutrality. We must be aware of what we are partaking in each time we do this.

If we fail to see and grasp the body and blood of Christ in these elements in such a way that strengthens faith, hope, and love within us, then we may be becoming cold and hardened to the presence of our Savior in the task at hand.