Learning to Share – Part III

5883 “So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”

Did Jesus really say these things? > Luke 14:33

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison — your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Did Jesus really mean these things? Literally? Most today would probably say, “NO, not literally. But that is our modern Christianity speaking. Of course he meant what he said, and the early church in Acts proves it! So what do we do now?

Some would try to say, as I also considered, maybe all that is just for those who become “Disciples”. I just want to be a simple child of God. However, that don’t work either. Jesus plainly taught to go and make “Disciples” of all nations, teaching them to do what I have commanded. Commanded? We are to become disciples.

Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

What the heck does that mean? Again, does he really mean that?

These were just a few of the reasons I left the modern American Church system. It was time to get real. It was time to face the real Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth. Am I a real Christian, follower of Christ, or not? And as I left you hanging in Part II, I had just shared the vision of how I wanted to share my house with the less fortunate, and my wife was setting there looking at me with eyes that plainly said, “You’re breaking my heart!”

That was the most difficult fellowship we had had to that date, and I know it was difficult for our third person as well, my friend Jason, as he felt her pain too, but it was REAL. We were not playing Church.

The only thing I own that has any value, and really the bank still owns, but we hope to own someday, is our house. It’s a very basic house. It’s 1400 square feet, 3-4 bedrooms depending, and ONE bathroom. We raised 5 children here. Four boys and a daughter. Here’s a couple pictures.

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So I laid our simple house before the Lord and asked, “Lord, how do I share this place in such a way as the Kingdom of God shines here? I bring this place into your common stock. Everything I own is not simply brought into a common community, but actually is common stock with your Kingdom. I own nothing here, but everything in you.”

Now realize, my wife is not in on this conversation. I would have loved for her to be in it, but this was not a question she was ready to ask, even with all the teaching I been doing on this. There finally comes a time we have to force an issue. Are we real, or not? Are we going to take up “our” cross, or not? It was time to put this on the table, but before I could do that, I needed to know what the vision could be? How could I share this house without actually selling it and giving all the money away? Actually, there wouldn’t be much money, if any.

We have to read the WHOLE word of God, and a man who does not take care of his family is worse than an infidel. And Jesus said to love our neighbor as our self. As in the Lord’s prayer, God is not asking us to become destitute. Our needs are to be met. But what could we do with this place to show the real Jesus who teaches us to share all things?

Let me digress 20 years for a moment. Back when I did not understand all this, I was heavily involved in Youth Ministry. Due to various circumstances at that time, we decided to use our house as a Friday Night Youth Church. We had an old van I picked “teenagers” up in. Believe it or not, this outreach started growing like crazy! We eventually had 40 teens coming in this house every Friday night! Yes, this very same 1400 sq. ft. house! (My wife wanted to shoot me then too, but the kids eventually won her over.) This group was about 50/50 % street kids to Christian kids! It was the most successful street outreach I ever had! And we preached to them hard!

This went on for 3 years! (And we do have stories we could tell.) And yes, the house took a tremendous beating. But I took a low paying job in order to start this ministry, a janitor’s job. I left truck driving. And after 3 years our vehicles were on their last leg, our bills were climbing, there was enough money to support the meetings, but not the house and vehicles. After all, it was our house. No one wanted to pay our house payment, or buy us a new vehicle. That was our responsibility.

So I had to go back to making more money. The ministry dissolved in sadness, but we remembered the good things, and began slowly crawling out of our hole. I still think people with small minds failed to support a ministry God was using. Or do Christians always obey God, and it died because we were doing something wrong? Will God let something die to test people? Hhmmm.

But during that time, and even to this day, Brenda (my wife), and I talk about all the nice houses around us, for ours is the runt of the litter in this neighborhood, and even though all these people had greater means to share, a greater house, greater vehicles, greater income, none of them were willing to share in such a sacrificial way. Such nice places kept only for them and theirs. And we wonder why God goes to poorer people like us?

This is the real Jesus Christ, to love your neighbor as yourself. Has it gotten that real for you at the Church you attend? Is it really a Church?

Well… that was twenty years ago, and after that I kept trying the normal Church system thinking maybe we failed because we ended up on our own, but all I kept finding was a watered down Jesus and watered down message all these years, until I could stand it no more. And now full circle, here I was again. My wife looking at me almost ready to cry. The one I love most in this world, and I was hurting her, causing her pain.

We’re over 1,000 words already. The top picture in this article is our place of a secret garden. Our house makes an “L” shape, and in that back area God spoke to me of the next step in our following the real Jesus and having all things common, real communion, real community. Looks like the details of the vision must wait for Part IV. I have not forgotten our story of “Yinney the Sloth who needed to POO”, but there are already 36 chapters to read and there will eventually be more. I write what God gives me, and for some reason God wants to camp here for a while. So here we are.

I know messages like this don’t get many “likes” in a selfish culture as ours. Unfortunately, it don’t seem to get many likes in the Church either. What is God to make of that? What are we to make of that? What does it tell us about ourselves? Dare we answer such questions? Do we really follow Christ? Are we really saved?

God’s word advises us to judge ouselves, so we need not be judged by others. Are we an honest judge? Or do we take bribes under the table? Perhaps I’ve said too much, but God will say more.

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“Learning to Share” Part 2

5738 So the REAL JESUS tells me I have to learn to share. Hhmm. If you read Part I, you know how I described my isolated and introverted childhood, not so good for learning to share. We also shared the analogy of the wolf verses the dog. The dog has wolf ancestry but chooses to love and serve a master. Dogs are such a picture of devotion and choosing to share.

Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth. Wolves shall not, but the lovable mutt that works their way into your heart will survive! In the above picture, my friend Jason recently took on a new member to his family. Meet Luke. A full blooded yellow Lab.

However, Jason already had one dog, a chihuahua named Zak. And now Zak, who had been an only dog, is having to learn to share!

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“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” (Acts 2:44-45)

This is the Jesus I kept bumping into in our large fancy modern Church buildings that cost more to run than what we probably feed the poor, or help our neighbor. I was in a pickle and didn’t know what to do about it. I feel sorry for Zak, but he may be doing better at it, than I.

So I began sharing this spiritual dilemma with our Fellowship we started. We left the modern Church system so we could be REAL, like the Jesus I kept bumping into. As you can imagine, we all three felt the strain of living up to what Jesus actually taught, especially his whole Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the poor in spirit? Well…maybe because they know what it is to lack, and need to share, in order to survive. Their hopes and dreams have been dashed so many times, now they are a broken vessel no longer prideful or attached to things. But what about me? I’ve always been lower middle class and never lacked. I also have stuff. Not just needs.

We know what it is to live from paycheck to paycheck, and barely squeeze by. But we have a small house of 1400 square feet in the big city. We have transportation, old though they be. We have food, heat, AC, medical if we need it, and a little extra for entertainment, and helping others, but the Jesus I kept bumping into wanted to take things to a much higher level! Because he is LOVE! And it seemed to be connected to COMMUNITY/ GOD’S FAMILY. And it’s all through our New Testament and early Church fathers. There is no denying or escaping it if your HONEST, and much of modern Church IS NOT!

I do love the wolf/ dog/ sheep analogy. They say sheep are the most stupid animal, but they happen to be smart enough to choose following a “higher being” than themself, known as man, also called a shepherd.

The dog also has chosen to follow a higher being, known as man, and master. But the wolf only follows another wolf. He is the alpha, small “a”, and he’s just another wolf.

The real Jesus says, “Follow me.” The real Jesus asked Peter, lovest thou these more than me?

Do I trust him? Do I love him? Am I making disciples? This Jesus tells me in Luke 14:33 that I cannot become his disciple without giving up everything I own. And I am to help the poor. The greater are always supposed to help the lesser, and there is always someone greater than you, but also having less than you. Those with less rarely can do much for those having more. That doesn’t even make sense.

So as I examined my possessions, I still have no real savings, not even a 401K. LOL. That got burned up in my back surgery. Our 2 vehicles are old and needed. The only thing leaping out at me is our small house. So I laid it before the Lord and asked, “What would you have me to do?”

This led to me, as the Bell Sheep of our Fellowship, this led to me sharing the vision of “what to do” with our small Fellowship, of which my wife is one, and Jason the other. Well… as you can imagine… I tried to blame it on the REAL JESUS… but somehow she kept looking at me.

This story will continue in Part 3.

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My dog, Shadow. We are dog lovers here.

“Yinney” – Chapter 16

Bradypus “In this Fellowship we celebrate the beauty and wisdom of slow, because we are all about gardens, not jungles,” Yinney explained. “Our Lord loves a pleasant garden. There is peace in a garden, not strife, not worldly ways. The world is a jungle. We do not copy the world. We are a refuge from that rat race. Peace be unto you, our Lord loved to say.”

It was another day of teaching and he was explaining to the three macaws, Lu-Lu, Me-Me, and Jo-Jo, that he was about to go out on three day trips to spread the word of his 7th Day Tree. “However,” he explained, “this will be done very slowly. Fast growth is not what we seek. Weeds love fast. Weeds love speed. Weeds will overcome a garden very quickly and choke it out. People make the mistake of seeking fast growth. They see it as a sign of success, but how can you develop leaders for small groups that quickly? Leaders you know well enough to set in a position of leadership? How can you get to know your people very well so quickly? There is no depth! Depth requires time. True relationships require time.”

“Every garden needs constant weeding. There will be those we send away with an invitation to come back if they decide they want to share ‘fellowship’. It’s all about communion, fellowship, family, community. If someone cannot fellowship without causing contention, then they have not found the right garden for them. They might not even be looking for a garden. The jungle may be in them. The predator may be in them. We are not of the predator ways. Satan is the predator; our Lord a Shepherd and Gardner. Satan thought he could over throw and steal what God has slow grown, His Kingdom. But he found out different, because God is not only a Shepherd and Gardner, but also the ONE TRUE GOD.”

“The scriptures say, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go unto the House of the Lord. Church for many has simply become more stress added to an already stressful life. It’s another “Do List”, with all kinds of programs you’re expected to fulfill if you are a good Christian. But what we need is true fellowship with family. We need to ‘feel at home’. A safe place we can find opportunity to share our deepest feelings and thoughts. A place to be excited about our walk with God. A place to relax and enjoy. There must be true communion, or Church is failing to be Church, because Church is failing to be family… God’s family.”

“In a world rushing faster and faster every day, in this Fellowship, we choose to promote the beauty of slow, a way of peace, the growing of an inner garden in you.” And with that, Yinney smiled and opened the floor for conversation.

Jo-Jo was the first, “Your words are like cool water in a parched earth. You do not know what it is like to be a bird. You have always been a sloth. But ‘slow’ does not come easy for me. We birds have fast metabolisms. We eat constantly and burn food quickly. Our hearts race. Our movements are sudden and quick. But your words help me find balance. Your words quinch a thirst in my soul. I know there is a proper speed for me in which I too can walk as one with my Lord, in a garden, not this jungle we are surrounded by.”

“Here, here!” Lu-Lu and Me-Me both agreed with everything Jo-Jo said. Time was forgotten as the small group relaxed in the 7th Day Tree, shared some drinks and snacks, and talked about the goodness of God well into the afternoon. Anyone could come and go as they pleased. Me-Me was first to leave saying she had a family thing. But the fellowship continued no matter where they were. One in Spirit, one in God.

Lurking down below, Jag stared at the small group above. Of course, the macaws meant little to him, but he wondered when that sloth moved in? And when he would poo? His belly gnawed while he watched from a dark spot. Making note of the sloth and his tree, hunger finally moved him on. Something was going to die today, because his desire would be satisfied no matter what.

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“What does it all mean?” Part 1

20180728_145638 This journey has taken a lot out of me… but also put even more in. I somewhat resent the fact I have had to do all this research myself, and found no help from those who are supposed to be our leaders and experts. Those who have diplomas hanging on their wall. Those who are financially supported so they can be “full-time” in the ministry, with no secular job constantly draining them. They taught me very little concerning early Church fathers.

My path has not been perfect. I made some mistakes along the way, had to do a correction or two as I discovered more correct information, and felt a little stupid, but considering I’ve had very little help in digging these things out, I’m pretty happy with how well we have done. The Holy Spirit has been my constant guide, and very long-suffering, patient teacher. He is everything Jesus said.

But now I am at the “Big Question”. Now that I have a much bigger picture than I had before, “What does it all mean?” What is the effect of all this on me? How has this changed me? What will my walk with Christ be like from this day forward?

Let me say this: My body may be in America, but my heart is in the Kingdom of God. Every year Americans celebrate January 1st, New Years Day. But the change in me is so deep that New Years for me has become Nissan the 14th. I will start every year with my Lord’s Passover Meal, and I will start my every year thinking about unleavened bread, desert tents, a cloud and pillar of fire overhead, and pray to live in more perfect love, joy, and peace in my Lord each year. This is how my years will start from this day forward, as far as the power be in me to perform, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. This change goes so very deep. In order to fully explain I must go back to the beginning of my journey. And this blog site confirms that God started here with me, if one should check the early writings.

My journey started with God asking Adam to be the caretaker of a garden that did not seem to need care, because it was perfect. Think about it.

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Early in my journey God began speaking to me about “proper table setting”. At that time the Lord’s Supper, Passover meal, sun-worship, short-forming God’s Word, none of these things were even in my mind. I simply understood that at some point, Adam had begun to love Eve more than God, and give her will first place in his life. I began seeing how this disrupted the “Table Setting” in the perfect garden, and began inviting the devil to God’s table, just as he was at the Lord’s Supper.

We all know he showed up. Eve was deceived and Adam lost the garden he had been put in charge of. Then I realized this was a picture of man being put in charge of God’s “Church”. God giving man a second chance. And the first question that came to me was, how well has Adam done with God’s Church, concerning EVE? If history repeats, because the nature of man never changes, how well has today’s Adam done with the Church Garden God has given him? Especially concerning EVE? This is where it all started for me, and then seemed to end at the Lord’s Supper, after a journey through a few other things in between. The Lord’s Supper became like a master key unlocking so much understanding. Until then, I felt lost in an ancient maze of very tangled webs.

I could never have predicted this beginning point, and I also never would have predicted where it was going. From Eve to Passover? And all this has to do with a TABLE? A TABLE God loves to sit at with us, except the setting is all wrong, and God is near to leaving, just as he did Jerusalem in Ezekiel 8?! How’s that for a Big Picture?

I’m very contemplative and reflective today. I’ve been locked in my cave for two days and now entering day three, but I’m about to finally leave. As I spoke of crossing a line a few articles back, then I finally got to have an open and honest conversation with a very close friend, and now I’m at a point of being able to SUM IT ALL UP. I want to do it right, because it has come to mean EVERYTHING to me. So I BEGIN these articles.

I’m about to head to my tipi for the day. I’m still locked away in my cave in Indianapolis at this moment, but the sound of wind in the trees is finally calling me, and God says “Go”. I have yet very much work to do on this place of spiritual get away. But I will not hurry. I will not lose my peace. I will soar more and flap less. God has the timetable on all these things. Perhaps there is help coming I know not of? I sit at that table with God, in perfect peace.

I started my new year with God at the Passover Meal, this year, even though I did not yet realize how big a thing I was tapping into. There was no “bunny” at my table, unless he was to be eaten! I’m so glad I did, even though it was such a feeble effort, like a baby’s first steps. God says do not despise the day of small beginnings. This is the beginning of my best years yet. I have that peace.

So…these articles are sharing the conclusions I have drawn, and the changes this new light has CAUSED in me. I hope you are interested. Tell a friend. These may be the most important articles I have written yet.

I can say this, I see a TABLE. I see a TABLE SETTING. And I see GOD sitting at that TABLE. (WOW.)

He wants to sup with me. He wants to sup with his people. And this TABLE should not be a place in which the devil feels at home! We are the Church wherever we go, and we should be a proper Table Setting. We need to show the world the real Jesus Christ. We are priest of that Table. We stand in the gap between lost man and a place called hell. A place called hell. This is no small thing. There is no greater CALL.

The Passover Meal was the beginning of “Tent Life” for the Children of Israel. I believe they were meant to take what they learned in the wilderness, into the Promised Land. But instead, many of them forgot what it meant to “move with the cloud”, and settled both physically and spiritually into “homes”, even “mansions”, that did not move with God. Personally? I’m just passing through here. May I never leave my Tent Life matrix. May I always know when the cloud is moving, and like a turtle who’s home is on his back, stay with God! Be the Godwalker, an Enoch people. Those who’s Table Setting pleases God.

Definitely to be continued.

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New Garden – 5/5/18

Today is a Saturday and the plan for Grandpa White Feather is to start a new garden here> (That’s my 82 year old mom in the picture. The garden is for her.)

 

We start with a deck. Turtle Gardens Forever! (TGF) Slow down and hear God.

If we succeed more pictures will follow. Garden going very well here at our house. It is already popping with new beauty and life even though there is so much yet to go. It’s amazing how much beauty even just a little garden can offer.

 

Don’t forget to check out our previous articles of “Infinity War” if you like a trip down a spiritual rabbit hole! In the meantime our Tipi Retreat, which is where today’s garden starts, is still developing.

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Captain America or Nomad?

hqdefault (5) Is Marvel Cinema accidentally painting a picture of the Church? Beware, this is a trip down the spiritual rabbit hole. I have for a long long time said the Marvel Hero movies are a good modern day parable of the Church. Over the years I have been amazed at the parallels. This rabbit hole actually started when I wrote the previous article last Sunday, and I said: “Infinity War has begun!” Infinity is another word for “eternity”. So… Eternity War has begun! (there may be a few “small” spoilers in here. A big one at the end, but there is a warning preceding it.)

For the next how many articles we devote to this rabbit hole, we will not be leaving our subject matter of “The Seven Deadly Sins”, or our scripture verses of “Romans 13: 8-14”, which we began to open last article. “Six Living Verses” to fight the “Seven Deadly Sins”. Check them out. This will all relate as the articles build.

But there is much to unravel to understand the insane world down this huge and dark hole, of which most of us have become accustomed to like a frog in boiling water. We have not identified the change that has occurred, like Captain America was slow to see and accept, but once he did, he made some serious change! The man who had devoted his life as a symbol of loyalty to an American “system”, finally realized something had gone wrong with the “system”, and found himself facing a fork in the road. The critical choice of whether to turn a blind-eye and stay in his comfort zone, or continue to be a man of “honor”, and take the high road, the hard path, and everything that would go with it, no matter what others would say or think.

What choice did a man like Steve Rogers have really? But I find many in the Church today who do not realize the system has changed, or…they simply are not willing to leave the comfort zone. Are you aware there has been a change? Do you realize Captain America has gone the route of Nomad? He who was so faithful, having to turn his back on the system he defended with his life. And what does that mean? Do you see how similar Cap’s choice is to anyone who leaves the Church system to be the Nomad?

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You see, I feel like I’ve faced this same fork in the road, and perhaps that is why it is so obvious to me. I had a life long friend in the Church I left. Things have not been the same between us since. He just doesn’t see it. Or at least he says he doesn’t, but it is so easy to turn a blind eye when you don’t “want” to see something. And when you don’t want to face hard changes. He won’t even read this blog site, not one article, and we’re talking best friend.

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Something has changed in our Government pleasing Church. I went all the way back to our early Church fathers to find the answers, but it’s amazing how few of my friends are interested in what I found. I tell them what I have researched but they ask no questions. They are not the least bit interested. Not willing to make the slightest effort. Wow, how disappointing.

As technology continues to enrapture a fresh generation, most of the Church seem to be more interested in Ironman’s path, that of an Armor Bearer, (an amazing coincidence), than the one of NOMAD, for it is a nomad’s path indeed. You become the outcast, the spiritual rebel, the one refusing the cookie-cutter system Church has become. Wow…did I say that? And so a divide, a spiritual civil war is underway. Captain America actually fighting Ironman? And yet we are family.

captain-america-desktop-wallpaper-iron-man-and-civil-war-movie-computer There is a split taking place. A sort of Church civil war. It has been slowly growing for many years now. I see the Church being attacked on two fronts, but the second attack has not yet started. The first front is a popularity with our government, much like in the days of Roman Emperor Constantine. Previous Emperors had attacked the Church blatantly. An in your face attack, no bones about it. Easy to see. But the Church actually excelled in those times. Thanos is an in your face attack, like the Antichrist would be.

However, when Constantine came along, and he and the Church were all buddy buddies. He did untold damage that has lasted centuries, as he was working from the inside. His was not a blatant attack. He probably even thought he was doing good, but he did not understand spiritual things, and he did more damage to the Church than can ever be estimated. Are we not back in bed with our government, as we hang on to our precious tax exemptions? We even have a President now who is considered a friend to the Church. Will Trump prove to be a Constantine?

So we see a Church Civil War of sorts, as the Government pleasing Churches divide from the God pleasing Churches, (GPC verses GPC), (Avengers versing Avengers), and as a result house Churches are springing up left and right. In the movie, I could not believe the parallel of stupidity! When Nomad shows up with help to fight the biggest baddest dude yet, all the government could think of was arrest them! I loved Nomad’s answer, “I’m way past asking permission.” (those days are over.) This is the stupidity of following man-made ways. Nomad realizes the king has no clothes. 

So which camp do we fit into? Are we with Ironman where the old Captain America fit into, or have we become the Nomad? I’ve lost friends over this fork in the road, and also picked up some new ones who see the change that has occurred.

There was a very strong teaching that went through the Church at one time, and even now would be considered a sacred cow. I mentioned it earlier. Dare I touch another sacred cow? Thanos told Thor, who came within inches of defeating him, that he should have gone for the head. Jesus crushed the “head” of the devil. I’m learning we can’t be afraid to crush heads in this war.

The teaching of the “Armor Bearer”. I’ll only say a few things. First of all, once again it is an Old Testament teaching. Which puts it in a time in which the average person did not have a personal leading of the Holy Spirit. Once again, the modern Church teaching O.T. stuff? Jesus offers us a higher level. Why live in the lower steps of where the O.T. was taking us?

Secondly, it puts the poor Armor Bearer following a “man”, not the Holy Spirit! Pastors are failing every day in our current spiritual climate! Men make mistakes, and lots of them. Why didn’t Jonathon follow David! He had even told David he was to be the next to sit on the throne of Israel! Jonathon understood all this! And yet chose to follow his prideful, power hungry, greedy, and people-fearing, people-favoring father! (Sounds like the Church today?) And so there goes the poor Armor Bearer to give his life for King Saul instead of King David! What a shame! But that was O.T. times.

Okay, I probably said too much, and probably should have been more nice about it, but Nomad is way past asking permission anymore. The king has no clothes and people are starting to wake up to that. We’ve been sold a “king theology” in the name of the One who lived his life as a servant to all. That boat just don’t float.

Big spoiler warning here. Do not read if you care. But by the end of the movie we are back to the original 6 Avengers. The others who fought in this particular battle have been neutralized, so to speak. But of those 6, only Ironman has chosen the path of loyalty to the system. (I think I’m right on that. Check for yourself.) The remaining 5 would all be with Nomad.

So this article has been a story of choosing the high road no matter what the cost, or the hardships it may bring. In the movie this has especially played out between Ironman, Captain America, and Winter Soldier, who appears to have a new name of “White Wolf”. Healing has come to the Winter Soldier, and so…a new name. It’s a good thing Captain America chose his friend over the system. Cap/Nomad is just that kind of guy.

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Stay tuned. Much more to come.

Signed: Grandpa White Feather.

MAZE IV – Continued.

“A Lord’s Supper Story” – Continued.

“Lock the door! Darkness has fallen! No one else can enter in!” the Elder shouted, and the door was locked.

After this announcement, Bishop Daniel stood before his people and motioned for everyone to settle in, draw close, and pay attention. “Welcome everyone. We’re so glad you are all here, and everyone made it in, because tonight is very special, and perhaps this night is God’s key to it all, as we enter into the Lord’s Supper, and His Table.

“For some of you this is your first “Lord’s Supper” on the Passover date.” The Bishop’s eyes fell for a moment on Daniel and his family, and another family present, before continuing. “Your children will have questions, and you will have the chance to explain very important spiritual truths. But this brings up my first topic of discussion, for a change is coming, and I do not think we are going to be able to stop it.”

If it were not silent before, it was now, as the Bishop had the full attention of every person. Was there news concerning the latest Christian persecution? Whatever it was, from the sound in Bishop Daniel’s voice, it must be of utmost importance. The people waited.

“As you know, this House Church has always followed the teachings of Bishop Polycarp, who was discipled by the Apostle John, and taught to observe the Passover in just the way we have always done it; but changes are coming, and they are not small. The Bishops of Rome have been pressing to go this way for quite some time, but we have steadfastly refused. Now they have their eyes on big buildings, large congregations, a short-form Lord’s Supper, and an Easter celebration that ends on Sunday. With changing tides in the air of Rome, these Bishops see their chance coming. They are pressing for the Bishop of Rome to be the one Pope, a title we have not approved of ourself, but he would become the “Holy See” over all, and all other Bishops would be expected to follow his rule, to maintain unity, or be excommunicated.”

“As you can imagine, this will have many effects, including the eventual loss of the Home Church which is so conducive to the Lord’s Welcoming Table, and a closeness we have always enjoyed. So be aware of these things, and as I now will pray and we begin our meal together, this meal symbolically representing the slaying of a spotless lamb, be sure to share with your brothers and sisters, and we can begin to discuss such things as are coming, and prepare ourselves to know what is right, and do what is pleasing in our Lord’s sight.” With that final statement, Bishop Daniel paused, taking one last look around at the flock, and then bowed his head to pray. This was the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing upon the meal about to be partook.

As usual, the fellowship during this time was rich. It was also a time of checking on the family. Usually, if a family was hurting, it could be detected. It was not just about laughing, hugging, and putting up a good front. It was real. If you were hurting, the family wanted to know. Food was passed around with special note being taken of any who seemed to not have much. But also, added to this night was talk of the changes Bishop Daniel had spoken of, along with reminders of why they were here this night for this purpose. Through the blood of Christ, each person here was safe from the Death Angel. After the meal, they would all partake of the Bread representing the Lord’s body, and the Cup representing his blood.

It was a very solemn occasion. Bishop Daniel took the time to explain how the Lord’s Supper, the Passover meal, was a yearly reminder of Jesus great sacrifice to set us free from our captivity to sin. How it was in the death of the sacrificial lamb that each family was saved from the Death Angel. The Passover meal was all about the Lord’s death on that cross, a people set free, and an evil Pharaoh defeated. Tonight was not about the Lord’s resurrection, but about His great love to embrace our Cross, and now we look at His passion for the world, and we enter that same passion, and that same cross.

If anyone was worried about passing so many hours from sundown to midnight, they should not have been so. So much sharing was accomplished in those hours. Each also reminding each other to try and imagine a real Death Angel flew over those houses that night. This was real! In the middle of the night wailing began being heard from the Egyptians, as they awoke to find loved ones dead! But the houses with blood on the doorposts, forming the sign of the cross even as it was applied, were safe.

Elder Joe also walked around encouraging everyone not to take God’s blessings for granted. God has saved us from an eternal judgement. We start our new year by reminding ourself of the curses of Pharaoh, the death of God’s first born Son, and how serious our life in Christ is. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride, even as God’s Word says a man is to love his wife, and give himself for her, even as Christ gave himself for the Church.

There were times of singing and worship, and times of questions and discussion. The night was passing far too quickly. But finally, Bishop Daniel stood to speak again. “Do not forget,” he began, “that Moses instructed the people to keep their clothes and shoes on, and have their staff nearby, ready to go. God had said they would be thrust out by the Egyptians with haste! And it happened just that way, while it was still dark, they were told to leave now! Before we decide to kill you! And they left with such haste there was no time to even add leaven to their bread! After this Passover meal, the Jews entered seven days of unleavened bread, and it was to always be a part of this Passover feast.

In God’s Word, leaven always represents sin. As we have begun this new year, we have the chance to embrace God’s passion and His glory even more than the year before. Let us get the sin out of our life, and live holy unto our God. As you practice the next seven days of unleavened bread, pray and ponder about these things. I want to thank everyone for coming tonight. As usual, a basket is by the door for free-will offerings. We do have needs in the body, and some were made known here tonight. If God has blessed you with extra, obey God in what you should give. With that said, I will ask Elder Joe to dismiss us, and do not feel you have to rush out of here like the Israelites had to. A better sacrifice has been made for us than the blood of any animal, and we rejoice in our High Priest Jesus tonight, and we do remember his death, until He returns. Amen.

Then the Bishop gave the Elder a nod, and a final prayer was prayed. Everyone gave hugs and slowly made their way out into the night. Some families walking together until paths parted with final hugs and handshakes.

Eli felt such a peace inside as he stared up into the night sky, with his little family. Another whole year laid ahead of them now, but he felt very good about the way they had started it. In the years to come, his children would grow up, and House Church would be just a memory for them. They would speak of the closeness they once had. They would question the direction of the current Church, but for the sake of unity they would continue on…until they did not…until such a darkness was upon them that no other choice was possible…and many would be the splinters of the church…and many the cold stone buildings…short-form Lord’s Suppers…and lack of knowing your brother and sister…even to the point of many falling through cracks no one spoke of.

The End

I hope this short story helped. So much more could have been written as far as the many ways those hours from sunset to midnight could have been passed, in which the time would fly. Also, the many things which could be taught from both the Passover in Moses day and the comparisons to what Passover includes for us today. This story was only meant to give a glimpse of the possibilities. To cover it all would require a book.

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