Published: 12:05 am, Sun. Aug. 16th, 2015
From time to time, all of us have been guilty of taking some remarkable things for granted, simply because they have become familiar to us.
Take, for instance, the ancient and honorable game of golf.
Most folks understand the basic principles of golf. Some of us play golf. Some of us play at it. Personally, I play a round of golf at least once every three years, give or take a year.
But suppose you had to explain golf to someone who had never seen it before – say an Aborigine from the Australian outback. Don’t you think an Aborigine from the Australian outback might find our game of golf rather strange?
“Why is that big man trying to punish that little ball by hitting it with that long stick?” he might ask.
“He’s not trying to punish the ball,” you explain. “He’s trying to drive it. He wants to put the little white ball in that tiny hole way over there, about 500 yards away.”
“Why not just walk over and drop the ball in by hand? It would be a whole lot easier.
Trying to hit such a small ball with such a long stick seems like a waste of time.”
“Well,” you respond, “that’s part of the challenge. Nobody wants to put the ball in that hole the easy way. In fact, we pay an expert a lot of money to make sure the ground around the hole is especially tricky.
See the woods over there, and the rough grass and the pond and the sand traps? Those are all places where the little white ball can get caught or lost.”
“Oh, now I get it!” says your friendly Aboriginal visitor. “If it takes a long time to put the ball in the hole, everyone is happy.”
You shake your head. “No, if it takes a long time to put the ball in the hole, someone usually gets angry. See that man over there, throwing his clubs around and cursing? He’s furious because he just hit his ball into the pond for the third time!”
“Then, tell me,” your friend asks, with a puzzled look, “why does he bother to play golf at all, if it only makes him angry?”
To which you respond, “That man comes here twice a week to play golf so he can relax!”
And so it goes. As Alex Gondola, Jr. writes, familiar things, like golf, that we take for granted, can seem strange to others.
At the end of the first century, in the time of the early Church, in the days when the Gospel of John was written, about 90-100 A.D. the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper apparently seemed strange to some. It was even controversial.
Christ followers have become accustomed and agree that as we take communion, we take the body and blood of Christ into ourselves.
Many of the Jews in the first century apparently rejected that idea outright. Even some of Jesus’ disciples found the teaching difficult to accept.
Take Christ’s body and blood into ourselves? They thought it was just plain strange.
There is a story about a minister walking along the ocean with his small son. The boy questioned his father about Sunday’s sermon. The boy said, “Dad, I cannot understand how Christ can live in us and we live in him at the same time.” Further down the beach, the father noticed an empty bottle with a cork in it. Taking the bottle, he half filled it with water, re-corked it and flung it out into the ocean.
As they watched the bottle bob up and down he said, “Son, the sea is in the bottle and the bottle is in the sea. It is a picture of life in Christ. You live under the Lordship of Christ and He lives in you.”
Perhaps we have become so familiar with the Sacrament of our Lord’s Supper that we sometimes take it for granted.
Maybe it’s time to consider again what communion with Christ means.
I’m just sayin’.
Have a great Sunday.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Grousnick is the pastor at First Christian Church.)