50 Years On . . .

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With fondness, we recall many annual Lord’s Supper celebrations with congregations served over the years in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas — and one special Supper with brethren down under in Adelaide, South Australia. The commitment among CoG7 folks to “do this in remembrance of Me [Jesus]” in the same season each year runs deep.

We recall afternoon drives to serve the Supper in distant congregations without pastors. like those in Muskegon, Michigan (back in the ’70’s), and in Kearney, Nebraska (in the 90’s). Riding along, we found it helpful and encouraging to sing acapella duets as rehearsal for service that evening — when we would back it up with ukulele strumming. One older hymn we occasionally sang back then: “Lead Me to Calvary.”

Early in my ministry, I (Calvin) recall being drawn into a disagreeable discussion with a dear brother about the order of the sacred Supper service: Should we wash feet first and take the emblems after, or vice versa? Since that exchange created more heat than light, I count it now as among the “foolish disputes” that apostle Paul warned us of — not to be repeated. Over the years, I hope we’re all learning to keep the main thing (about the Lord’s Supper service) the main thing, and not to major on the minors.

Visiting Golgotha and the garden tomb outside Jerusalem, we once united with folks from various and sundry Christian backgrounds in eating and drinking the emblems of His body and blood, thus affirming our common faith in Christ Jesus, crucified and risen. From that symbolic act of Christian partnership more than thirty years ago, our desire to be broad in our attitude toward other followers of Christ has only grown, based much on the Lord and Savior who loved the world so much that He opened His arms wide and died for us all.

On the other hand, we gladly recognize and are humbled by the reality that our Lord’s suffering calls each of us who love the name of Jesus to sober reflection over the quality of our own faith and obedience toward Him. This we strive to do daily, not just once a year when our church comes together to commemorate Christ’s death by taking emblems of His body and blood, as He taught us.

Thank God for an old rugged cross in our faith and for an empty tomb that follows! Our sins are gone, and Jesus lives forever to reign!

Calvin and Barb Burrell are enjoying retirement in Stayton, OR.

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