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Because He Loved Them

Written by Sarah Weiner

I began attending church gatherings with my family when I was three years old. My parents had been raised in the church but had not chosen to follow God as teenagers and young adults. By the time they had 3 kids, they decided it might be a good idea to join a church community again. As first-time visitors, I’m sure we were greeted warmly at the door, and then my brothers and I made a beeline for the front pew. I don’t mean the outer edge of the room, but front-and-center. We made ourselves comfortable, and you can imagine my parents with a mix of a smile and a grimace, as that might not have been their first choice. We ended up sitting up front for years!

Funnily enough, I am once again typically sitting on the front row. I guess I have been for a while, but several months ago I was humbled to witness something I hadn’t noticed before. We prepared to take communion as a congregation, and I was one of the first to approach the servers once the table was opened. I sat down after receiving the bread and the juice, still a long line of people waiting in the aisle next to me. I sat there with my eyes closed and instead of praying, I listened to the servers repeat over and over, to each person who stepped in front of them: “the body of Christ was broken for you” and “the blood of Christ was shed for you.”

Do we regularly look at our brothers and sisters in the family of God and view them in this light? In this sacred way? It was more beautiful and powerful to me than it had been before, pondering those truths:

The body of Christ was broken for you.

The blood of Christ was shed for you.

The body of Christ was broken for the one who betrays. His blood was poured out for the one who steals. His body was broken for the one who lies. His blood was poured out for the one who hates. His body was broken for the one filled with pride. His blood was poured out for the one filled with fear.

Our disobedience, our turning from God’s good way, our distrust of Him–these things brought Jesus to the cross. The body broken; the blood poured out. Yet Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame of it, for the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2). It was his joy to lay down his life so that I could have life in him. So that you could have life in him. Jesus faced death (and conquered it!) with deep love and compassion for those who believed and would believe (John 17:20). He calls us to die to the flesh and turn from the way we once walked. Now we are members of his body, walking in the new life of the Spirit. We are his beloved.

No, this is not necessarily a call to sit up front during a Sunday gathering, but I would encourage you to be aware of the people receiving communion around you. The spiritual blessings that are yours in Christ are also theirs! “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight… (Ephesians 1:7–8).

Look at your brothers and sisters with the knowledge that:

  • God loved them even as he loved Jesus (John 17:23)

  • Jesus was pierced and crushed to atone for their sins (Isaiah 53:5)

  • Jesus has sought them and saved them (Luke 19:10)

  • They are called children of God (1 John 3:1)

Pray for God to give you humility, compassion, patience, long-suffering, wisdom, and love for these sibling relationships. And praise God that we who were once separated from God and community are now welcomed and set apart for righteousness.

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