So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. - 1Corinthians 11: 27-29 (NLT) As with most things in modern Christendom, the lack of reverence for the things of God becomes staggeringly worse with each passing day. We see worship music that is entirely man-centered and preaching that is bloodless and requires little to no sacrifice from the listeners. Baptism is morphing into an entree into church membership and SHAPE analysis rather than the sacred moment when we publicly identify with Jesus Christ and bury our old sinful man. This past week however, we now see that even Holy Communion is no longer off limits from the depravity of man. Pastor Roderick Belin of Kairos Community AME Church in Nashville Tennessee has given new meaning to poor teaching. Responsible for the spiritual guidance of his flock, he instead decided to use the ordinance of Holy Community to make a cultural and political statement last week. In light of the George Zimmerman verdict, Pastor Belin held Holy Communion but replaced the bread and wine with skittles and iced tea. No, I am sadly not kidding. The video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97C9AlwI7Nw The usage of skittles and iced tea is a statement against the jury verdict that acquitted George Zimmerman because the youth that was killed, Trayvon Martin, was carrying only a bag of skittles and a bottle of iced tea when he was shot. I have no intention of rehashing the facts of the case because that is not what is the issue here. As Christians, we know and believe that we serve a God that will hold everyone to account for every careless word, let alone deed. Even if you believe that justice was not served by the verdict, no one escapes the justice of God. That said there are many problems with this statement made by the Pastor who clearly does not understand the gravity of Scripture. First of all, what is communion? On the very night that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was to be betrayed and turned over to crucifixion at the hands of sinners, He had His Last Supper with His disciples and instituted the ordinance of Holy Communion. He broke bread Pastor Belin, BREAD. We need to get into the history of the Jewish Feast of Unleavened bread to show the importance of why bread was the chosen element. Certainly they had other foods in that day. Jesus could have shared fish with the disciples that fateful night but He chose bread. He chose bread because thousands of years earlier, God chose bread: “The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. - Leviticus 23: 5-6 (NLT) Where did the notion of unleavened bread come from? From the deliverance of God's people from their slavery in Egypt! They needed to be ready after the Passover to leave Egypt; so ready they could not even wait for their bread to rise. So the bread is tied to the original lamb's blood found on the doorposts when the death angel visited Egypt which was an archetype of the coming of Christ - the Lamb of God and final sacrifice. Is this something that seems so cavalier that it is appropriate to change this element to a manufactured candy such as skittles? Are we that dismissive of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we think this would be acceptable? And for what? For what do we dishonor the death of the Son of God? The death of Trayvon Martin? As a Pastor? And what about the other element of Communion? What about the wine? And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” - Matthew 26: 27-29 (NLT) This is my blood which confirms the New Covenant! It is a representation of the blood He was going to spill to pay our debt before God Almighty! There is no remission of sin with the blood sacrifice. There is no salvation without the blood. There is only the hell of eternal separation from God! I did not choose to use wine to represent this blood - Jesus did! Dear Lord are we so vain that we cannot see how sacred this is? Do you think your sins are covered by iced tea? Do we mock the sacrifice of Jesus this easily? Do you think the body which was whipped, beaten, bloodied, and broken for our sins was a bag of skittles? Really? This is not about being overly ritualistic beloved - it is about being minimally reverent. Unfortunately for Pastor Belin, he has apparently lost the fear of God. I do not say that with any glee or joy. I say it with profound sadness for him and the people that follow him. This is the end result however of the church trying to be relevant to the fallen culture it sits in; instead of being the shining city on a hill Jesus called it to be. You were hurt by the verdict? Let me tell you about Jesus and the God we serve and why we do not have to worry about the justice of man. Instead the modern church is now in the business of wanting to be relevant. Being relevant to a sinful fallen world is not what the Church of Jesus Christ was called to do. You see from the start of the video, Pastor Belin trying to excuse his decision to do this after receiving correct criticism. Circular reasoning used to avoid facing the fact that he has ate and drunk the judgment of God upon himself and his congregants. Once again, I did not say that - God did. The key verses are very clear. Anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup unworthily is guilty of sinning against the very body and blood of Christ Himself! When you think the elements He chose, which have thousands of years of significance to God, can be discarded for the cause du jour, you are indeed eating and drinking judgment upon yourself beloved. This is not a game. Christianity is not some social activity we engage in to fill up our weekends. We were all on the outside of salvation looking in. We were all going to hell. God wanted to reconcile Himself to His creation and He chose to sacrifice His only Son on an old wooden cross two thousand years ago so that we might once again be right with God. This isn't a Veggie Tale. It isn't a story we tell our children. It is the heart of our faith. It should not be mocked, discarded and derided by the very men who were called to protect it and deliver its message. The death of Trayvon Martin was a human tragedy because a 17 year old child lost his life. You were not there. I was not there. Pastor Belin was not there. God however was there. In a world of untruths and shadows, God always brings everything to light. We do not "get away" with anything in this life. That said, we can never compromise the core of who we are as Christians because we do not like the verdict in any criminal case. We should not compromise who we are for anything beloved. Skittles are not the same as the unleavened bread Christ shared that night at the Last Supper. Iced tea is not the same as the blood upon which our New Covenant was made. Dear God have mercy on us and on Pastor Belin. Let us take your Word with dire seriousness and not the casual informality we see today. That we would take the very elements You chose to represent the sacrifice You made and think nothing of them. That we would carelessly toss them to the side and replace them with anything for any reason we might feel is justified...God forgive us. Rev. Anthony.