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Communion Meditations (2016)

Baby Food

Originally scheduled for September 4

John 6:53-58 NASB So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. (54) "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (55) "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. (56) "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (57) "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (58) "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."

 

Having recently become a grandfather (again) I am reminded of the basics of nutrition for small children. Those of you who have had children are familiar with the common baby food jar. It contains approximately three times the amount of food necessary to feed the child at any given meal. This is because one third of the jar will be eaten and the other two thirds will be used as an object of play. This means that the child will wind up distributing the contents of the jar in a number of really interesting places: mother’s blouse, the bib, the high chair tray, the floor, the kid’s hair, nose, ears — though it is a minor mystery of Western civilization how the kid gets strained peas into his shoes. It’s even more of a mystery how he gets them inside his socks, between his toes, with his shoes on.

But please note one thing: the baby is eating things which adults eat. They are strained, puréed or otherwise processed, but they’re made out of the same ingredients. We have something of a parallel to that in communion. To a new Christian communion may seem rather simple, and indeed it is. It’s just that sometimes we don’t see that something can be both simple and profound. Which it is.

We can see this in several ways:

·         First, we see this in the nature of communion. It is a simple meal made of common elements — bread and wine. These things would be familiar to most Christians of most times. As you grow in the faith, you realize that this is also a symbolic meal. Later, you realize that the symbolic and the physical here intertwine.

·         Second, we see this in the necessity of communion. The Lord’s Supper is commanded to us; it is not offered as an option. If you are a Christian — new or 80 years old in the faith — you take communion. It’s the same communion for the new Christian as for the old Christian. There is no segregation in communion.

·         Third, we see this in the reality of communion. The creator of the universe, he who spoke in the worlds began, says, “this is my body.” The one who defines reality in his creation has told you this. It is not a trite little ritual that we made up. It is at the core of the faith — and the faith is very real.

Indeed, you cannot take communion without proclaiming to the world that you are a Christian. Specifically,

·         You proclaim yourself to be one of the saved. You tell the world that you have received the grace of God.

·         You also proclaim his death as our atonement — and the physical reality thereof — and his resurrection. Taking communion states those facts.

·         You do this until he comes again — which means, of course, that you proclaim that Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead.

These proclamations can be made by the newest of Christians and the oldest Christians. They are core items of the faith and completely suitable for a new Christian. They grow in their value to the older Christian day by day. For such a thing, you are asked to examine yourself to see that you are taking it with all seriousness. Your Lord went to the cross with all seriousness; you can do likewise in communion.

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