Last Sunday a beautiful multi-racial congregation were worshiping together in Pretoria, South Africa, when the worship pastor stood to facilitate communion.
Joining the congregation that day were about 50 children from Berakah Education Foundation in Mamelodi, and a few of the parents (see video and photos below). Everyone in attendance was invited to partake in communion. But I wasn’t sure if the parents or staff from Berakah understood what was happening (possible cultural and linguistic barriers). As I explained to them how Jesus paid the price to take our punishment for our sins and how communion helped us to remember this act of love, one of the parents asked an unexpected question.
"Is this free?"
I was taken aback. I couldn’t fathom someone thinking that she had to pay for the communion elements. But then I became disturbed by the trap of false religion that held this beautiful woman back from experiencing the depths of the grace of God – His unmerited favor, unearned and undeserved love.
The question and the look on her face said, "Is this really for me?"
My immediate answer to the asked and unasked questions was a resounding, "Yes! His finished work is for all of us! Yes! You are qualified! Yes, He has paid it all! Yes, it is free!"
The bigger question
Does everyone know? How could it be possible that someone can attend church over and over and not know that Jesus paid it all--that it cost Him everything and us nothing, that we can neither pay for it nor earn it, and so He has given it to us freely? Oh, what a Savior! I wonder how many people are in our own circles of friendship, sitting right beside us, not knowing. Trapped by false religion--whether it's Western performance or Eastern mysticism or African traditionalism--into trying to earn something that is already paid for and given. Free.
Do we live like it ourselves? Do we affirm with our heads what Jesus did on the cross, but live as though we have to earn it? Do we share what He's freely given with those around us?
Is it really for me? Is it really for everyone around me?
Yes, it is!
Berakah kids visit Hatfield Christian Church, sing on stage