A few years ago at LifePoint, we started taking communion a little differently. We switched from passing the elements to having the communion elements on tables toward the front of the room. The very first time this concept was introduced (and every Sunday since) we were given instructions to come down either of the two center aisles, take the elements from the table on the left or right and return on the outer aisles to our seats.
As I processed these new “rules”, my silly beach girl brain immediately thought, “This sounds like a rip current rescue poster!” Have you seen the signs at the beach? If you get pulled out into a rip current, you’re supposed to swim parallel to the shore to get out of the pull of the rip current and can then swim safely back to shore.
As I thought about this analogy, I saw a new picture of God’s grace that I now treasure every week, and felt led to share it with you…
Every Sunday, my seat in church represents my life with God. As I leave my comfortable seat during communion and move towards the front of the room, I’m reminded of everything that has pulled me away from the comfort of my Lord and Savior. All of the sin, all of the shame, fear, guilt, pride. I think about all of it. I think about how the enemy has pulled me away from where I want to be. I think about how my own actions have pulled me away from where I want to be.
In the ocean, our natural inclination if we get pulled out into the deep water is to try our very best to swim back to shore the way we were pulled out. But if we do that we exhaust ourselves, and in so doing, put ourselves in great danger of drowning. How true that is of our walk with God! My natural tendency is to fight my sin, to look back on it and try to overcome by my own effort. When we do that, we exhaust our spirit and can drown in burnout and self righteousness. But, as we turn in faith to Christ to save us, the pull of sin in our lives releases.
As I turn and take the juice and bread which represent Jesus’ blood and body shed on the cross for my sin, I remember that He is my rescue, my only hope to be saved from my sin that separates me from my life in God. Just as in a rip current, I simply must rest in faith in Jesus to save me and then I get to swim freely and safely back to Him!
As I return to my seat, I well up with thanksgiving to a God who is mighty to save and a Savior who heals and restores my exhausted heart.