I wish I could sing because then I could sing this song. In New York Harbor stands a lady. Do you know the song? With her torch raised to the sky. How many of you have actually seen the statue of Liberty? Isn't it impressive? Especially to stand right there and to look up. It kind of gives you chill bumps to see the statue. Not because it's a statue, but because of what that statue represents. There is probably no symbol more closely related to everybody's idea of the spirit of America than the statue of Liberty. In fact, it was on this day, June 19, 1885 the statue arrived in New York Harbor. It was then called, Bedloe's Island. This wonderful symbol of America was actually a gift from France. It was designed and built on the other side of the Atlantic and then transported here to be put together again.
Just because we have a statue does not mean that we have liberty. It's merely a grand symbol of what we hold dear as a nation. It's a symbol that's a constant reminder of the cost of liberty. Not just as our country was getting started, looking for it's freedom, but in all the subsequent years in defending that freedom. Even today, our young men and women are paying the price of my liberty, of your liberty with their time, with their efforts, and unfortunately sometimes with their lives. Families back home are paying the price as well in so many ways.
No, Liberty is not a statue. It is something that we hold in our hearts, and it is something that we must continue to defend. Many have tried to destroy the liberty that we enjoy because it is a threat to the dictatorships of the world, world leaders who wish to keep their power at the cost of the liberty of their own people. During the beginning of Communism Lenin said, "First we shall take eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, and after that we shall surround and undermine the United States, which will fall into our hands without a struggle like an overripe fruit." Kruschev boasted, "Whether you like it or not, we will bury you." On American television in 1957, he stated, I can prophesy that your grandchildren will live under socialism."
Has that happened? No. Praise the Lord because liberty is not a statue. It is something that is in our hearts, something that is defended even if a terrorist blew up the statue, liberty would not be over because it dwells within us.
Today, many wish evil to happen to us because of the liberty that we enjoy, including the most evil dictator this world has ever known, Satan. He hates the liberty that we enjoy in Jesus. He wishes to bury us. He wants to cause our children to live under the penalty of sin and, our grandchildren. He wants us to be bound to him instead of free in Jesus. He does not wish for us to be here for this Communion service because of what it represents: our freedom from his tyranny.
Just as liberty is not a statue, Communion is not a piece of bread and a glass of juice. These are mere symbols of what is dear to our hearts. These are reminders of the cost of liberty, a price that we could not pay, but was paid for us. Communion is not something that happens once a quarter. It is something that is part of us, something that is in us. If the Communion service were somehow obliterated, Communion would not be because it is something that is within our hearts, part of our lives.
Jesus, is our example, demonstrates this type of Communion to His followers in John 14. Turn with me there. John 14:6. Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know Him have seen Him."
Phillip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you know Me, Phillip, even after I have been with you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?' Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, Who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask for anything in My name, and I will do it."
Have you thought about that? That's Communion. Jesus and the Father were so intertwined that to see one was to see the other. This is closer than even a marriage relationship where two are to be one. Some have described a marriage as two people singing a duet while trying to sing solos at the same time. This is not that way. This is the Father working through the Son; the Son working through the Father. This is a great "Righteousness by faith" text because Jesus Himself said, "I do nothing that is not through the Father. That's Communion: God dwelling in us. That's what this service is a reminder of. When we take the bread, when we take the wine, that's a symbol of internalizing God in us where He should dwell, where He should rule, whatever we do. Communion is a reminder of the relationship that we can have with God. Just as real as we can have with our earthly father. Father's Day is more than a Hallmark card and a polyester tie. It's a symbol of an ongoing relationship that is real, not something that is just once a year.
As a child, my favorite time of day was right around four-thirty in the afternoon. Know why? Four-thirty was when I started looking out the window. I didn't look down the road because I couldn't see down the road, because there was a curve and some trees. But I would look out the window on the front porch because that's where my dog, Sally, was sleeping. And I kept my eye on Sally. No matter how many cars came up and down the road, Sally's ears only perked up, Sally's tail only wagged, Sally's head only raised up off the cement porch, for one reason: she heard the sound of my dad's Ford 150 come. He really didn't sound like any other vehicle, but she knew the sound of that engine. She knew who was coming. I'd watch those ears perk up and , "You know what? Daddy's home." I knew it. Her master was home. You see, he'd been out tuning pianos all day tuning pianos, earning a living for the family. The family was not complete each day until he came home. Even the dog had sense enough to know this. This event was enough to rouse her off the porch to greet her master and enough to send me out the door to hug my dad. This was real! A longing to be close to the Father.
Do you have that longing to be close to your heavenly Father? Think about that on Father's Day. Symbolism can only be effective if there is truth to back it up. Otherwise, liberty is only a statue. Father's Day is only a tie. And Communion is only a ritual.
At the Last Supper, Jesus showed such humility by washing the feet of His disciples that the whole Passover feast was changed in their hearts. With pride now broken, the yearly ritual became Communion with God. Today, don't even let the foot-washing service be a mere symbol, allow pride to be washed away in this miniature re-baptism service so that the symbolic Communion Service can be backed by the truth that is in our hearts.
Hymn of Praise: #20, O Praise Ye the Lord Scripture: John 14:8, 9 Hymn of Response: #407, Sent Forth by God's Blessing
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last updated 6/22/04 by Bob Beckett.