Corbin, Alyssa, Peyton, Naomi, Kaleb, Lakia, and Kara.
I have struggled and wrestled with what to preach in this sermon tonight. I wanted to speak directly to you, but the things I wrote kept sounding like a lecture. I wanted to tell you all kinds of things about communion. There are all kinds of things that you can learn about it and that are worth knowing. I certainly want you to keep learning about it. But I didn't want to give you a lecture. Instead, I wanted to tell you something really simple. Or more like 3 things.
The first thing is something you already know because it's a part of your daily life. It's something that you do. And it's something that other people do to you. It has a lot of different names. In the Lord's Prayer it is called trespass. In our confession it is called sin. Sometimes we call it debt. Or brokenness. Whatever we might call it, you know all about it because you live with it. Sometimes you are the one who sins. You have hurt another person with your words; you have disobeyed your parents; you have stolen what wasn't yours; you have looked at something you weren't supposed to look at when your parents were gone; you have laughed at a cruel joke; you chose not to help someone who was hurting. The list of these wrongs is very long. You know that.
And there is something else that you know. You know that other people have sinned, and when they sinned you were the one who got hurt. You were the one who was the butt of the joke. You were the one who had something stolen. You were the one whose secret was discovered by a snoop. You were the one who was called a mean name. And it hurt. You know this.
So this is the first thing that I want to tell you. You are sinners. And you are hurt by other people who are sinners. You are like everyone who is gathered here tonight in this room. The whole world is made up of people like us. And even though we might try, we can't seem to avoid sin and all of the hurt that it causes.
The second thing that I want to tell you tonight is that this sin hurts God too. It's difficult to explain how this might be so. Does our sin make God sad? Does our sin make God angry? Does our sin hurt God because of the compassion he feels for the one we are hurting? These things are probably true, but we can't know exactly because in many ways God is a mystery to us. But it is important to know that when we sin, we are sinning against God, not just against another person.
And that leads to the third thing that I want to tell you tonight. God loves you. And he decided to do something about this sin and brokenness. Jesus, who is God, came and died on the cross. And by doing this, he accomplished something amazing. It is called the Blessed Exchange. The Blessed Exchange means that Jesus made a trade with each one of you. He took your sin, your brokenness, your trespasses, your hurt and pain and all of those terrible things died with him on the cross. In exchange for these awful things, he gave you forgiveness, a new life now, and the promise of eternal life. That’s a pretty good trade.
So what is Holy Communion? It is the place where Jesus promised to be to give us these benefits. He promises to be there, in the bread and in the wine. And each time we go there we hear the promise, "for the forgiveness of sins" "this is my body given for you" "this is my blood shed for you." And so we know, as we taste the bread and the wine, that this is Jesus giving us the benefits that he promised, the things that he gave us in exchange for our sins.
And so, for the rest of your lives:
- come to communion to confess your sins and to give them to Jesus
- Come to communion to be given again the forgiveness and new life that he has promised to you.
- Come to communion to be with other sinners, sometimes the very people who have sinned against you, and who are being forgiven too.