Some of the earliest Christian writings we have concerning the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper come from Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition, written in 215 AD. I want to share with you this morning part of a communion prayer from those writings. Keep in mind this is a prayer to God prayed by the community of faith as they’re gathered around the table on Resurrection day.
“When he was handed over to undergo voluntary suffering, to destroy death and to break the chains of the Devil, to crush hell beneath his feet, to establish the rule of faith, and manifest his resurrection, taking bread he gave thanks to you and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body broken for you.’ In the same way, taking the chalice, he said, ‘This is my blood which is shed for you. When you do this, do it in memory of me.'”
These are powerful words. These words thunder with the very powerful image of the saving work of God in Christ. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection served a history-changing, earth-altering purpose. Christ’s work did something huge and eternal. It won a great victory over a mighty opponent. And it will stand forever.
Destroy. Break. Crush. Establish. There is great power in these words. This is the work of the Savior of the World! And we celebrate the eternal benefits of that work when we commune with our Holy God. We rehearse the story, we remember the work, with words and images of power — “his incomparably great power for us who believe.” This is the picture and message of power that we celebrate together around the table. This is the picture and message of power that needs to be shared with a lost and dying world.
“That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” ~Ephesians 1:18-23
We’re counting down the days until the Cowboys kick off their 2009 season with the Red Ribbon Review, a list of the second-best players in Cowboys history according to jersey number. There are 68 days left until Cowboys season. And today’s #68 is offensive lineman Crawford Ker.
Ker was a third round pick out of Florida in 1985 and became the highest paid offensive lineman in Cowboys history. He played six years in Dallas. But he never was a starter for a winning Cowboys team. The Cowboys won the NFC East with a 10-6 record in Ker’s 1985 rookie season. Tom Landry would later say that was probably his best ever coaching year because the team really wasn’t very good. And they proved it in subsequent seasons.
Ker became the full-time starter at right guard in ’86, the year the Cowboys went 7-9 and ended the longest consecutive winning seasons streak in NFL history at 20 in a row. Clint Murchison died in ’87, another dark moment in Cowboys history, and the team finished 7-8. Steve Pelluer was named the starting quarterback in ’88 and led them to 3-13. Jerry Wayne came in and Jimmy Johnson held on to Ker for two more losing years before shipping him off to the Broncos before the ’91 season. Ker was a starter on the Cowboys line for five seasons during which the team went 25-54.
Ker’s success has come since his retirement from football. He owns and operates Ker’s Winghouse, a Florida-based chicken and burger joint with 22 locations and 1,700 employees, that raked in almost 60 million dollars in revenue in 2007.
It’s only fair to mention that Ker did taste some success before he left the NFL. It wasn’t all gridiron failure. In his one season in Denver, he got to block for John Elway and made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game.