Originally scheduled for November 5
Mentioned the word “alien” and you get one of
It is frequently used in a discussion
of those who cross our borders, whether they do so legally or not.
An alien is someone living in the United States who is not a citizen
of the United States. We presume their loyalty to lie towards
It is also used to describe
extraterrestrial life forms — as in “space aliens.” I have it on
disappearing from the cookie jar.
It’s the same word, “alien”, but the meanings
seem quite different. What they have in common is this: both the
immigrant and the extraterrestrial belong someplace else. We can
safely assume that their loyalties are towards wherever that
“somewhere else” might happen to be.
Christian should be able to understand this. As
the old hymn put it, “This World Is Not My Home.” We are on our way
to heaven, and that makes us pilgrims in this world. As the
Scripture tells us, we are to be “in the world, not of the world.”
Heaven is where we belong; the kingdom of God should claim our first
loyalties. That makes us aliens in this world.
Of course, in any discussion of aliens you need
some way of deciding who is the real alien and who is not. You need
some sort of credential to define your aliens. Some years ago, the
Los Angeles Times ran a picture of people protesting a state
constitutional amendment concerning aliens. Thousands of people were
shown with little Mexican flags in their hands. It had exactly the
opposite effect the Times wanted. The issue came up in another
amendment some years later; they ran an almost identical photograph,
this time with American flags in evidence. If you’re waving the
Mexican flag, we can assume you’re loyal to Mexico. I’m not exactly
certain what the equivalent would be for space aliens.
Communion, in a way, is our set of credentials
to be identified as a Christian. No one but a Christian would want
to do this; it only makes sense for the Christian. The bread and the
cup are identified as the body and the blood of Christ. Indeed, we
are told that by taking communion we proclaim the body and blood of
Christ until he comes again (1st Corinthians 11:26).
So let me ask you: when you do this, are you
portraying your real loyalty, or just going through the motions on
Sunday morning? Do you see in communion the sacrifice that your Lord
made so that you might be a pilgrim on the way to heaven? Those are
serious thoughts; so it is we are given time to examine ourselves
that we might not take this lightly. Think before you partake; then
take the body and blood in all seriousness.