But today, as I was sitting in the sanctuary praying, I felt led to post this outline. It is one that I created years ago, based upon Larry Stookey's book Eucharist, so really he gets the credit here.
All I have done is outline his concepts, and put them into an acronym. To my memory, this is the only acronym I have ever created. There are some who are gifted at these...I'm not one of them.
Also written here are some excerpts from John Wesley and his preaching on communion.
I will be using this outline again to guide my preaching on the Last Supper this Maundy Thursday.
STRAFE- sacrifice, thanksgiving, remembrance of Jesus’ death, action of the Holy Spirit, fellowship, and eschatology. All of these are conveyed through the sacrament.
A. STRAFE- the foundation of this mystery. Strafe means to scatter widely…a way that God delivers grace.
a. S: Sacrifice- Christ’s life, death, and resurrection make God’s grace available to us. We also present ourselves as sacrifice in union with Christ (Rom 12:1, 1Peter2:5) to be used in the work of redemption, reconciliation, and justice
b. T: Thanksgiving: expressing joy for God’s acts in history. Creation, Covenant, Redemption, Sanctification
c. R: Remembrance: of Jesus’ death for us. A re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Christ is risen, and alive here and now.
d. A: Action of the Holy Spirit: John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
i. Great Thanksgiving: “Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world that body of Christ, redeemed by Christ’s blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry with all the world.”
ii. This meal nourishes and strengthens our faith. It sustains us through trial, tragedy, temptation
e. F: Fellowship: celebrates the body of the faithful coming together, reveals the nature of the church, and the model God would have for the world
f. E: Eschatology: looks to the end of time, and God’s purpose for the world
i. “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.”
ii. Commune with those here, and with all the saints
iii. A foretaste of the future, a promise of heaven, “until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet.”
iv. When we eat and drink at the Table, we partake of the divine nature in this life and for life eternal.
v. Anticipate heavenly banquet celebrating God’s victory over sin, evil, and death (tragedy)
It is a plain command of Christ (John Wesley)
A. If we don’t take it to mean that we are do it constantly, than how often are we to obey? Of course it would be at every opportunity, otherwise we are being disobedient
B. People who complain that it detracts from reverence- suppose that it did. God commands us “do this.” When able to do it now, but will not, by making the excuse “if I do it so often, it will abate the reverence with which I do it now.” Begs the question: Has God ever told you that you when obeying his command diminishes your reverence, then you may disobey it? If God has said this, then you may avoid communion. If not, then diminished reverence is no reason to avoid the sacrament