Welcome to Becomning Closer! 

Communion Meditations (2017)

God the Merciful

Originally scheduled for March 19

One cannot go through the Old Testament without noticing a primary characteristic of God: He is merciful. Long before the ritual sacrifices in the law of Moses, Abraham gave sacrifices to God appealing to his mercy. When the law was established it the ancient Jew was given a way to seek the mercy and forgiveness of God. This uniformly involved animal sacrifices, which of course are forerunners of the sacrifice of Christ. But I would ask you to focus this morning on something different; it’s not just a question of animal sacrifices but of a ritual. The details are laid out in Leviticus, but the central point here is forgiveness comes with a ritual from God. Why? Maybe it’s because he wants us to remember his mercy, and not walk away and sin again.

Perhaps a bit more likely is the fact that these people had a sense that they needed mercy and forgiveness. By establishing these rituals, God assured them that they had such forgiveness and such mercy. Without a ceremony of some kind, human beings feel a little bit incomplete. For example, can you imagine a marriage which did not start with the wedding ceremony? It doesn’t have to be an elaborate one — it could be the county clerk’s version. But rituals like that mark the point where you go from unmarried to married. The rituals that Moses gave took the ancient Jew from sinner to forgiven.

Most of us know this and file it away under the heading of “somewhat interesting knowledge.” But do recall that the primary duty of a Christian in his daily actions is the imitation of Christ. Indeed, the word “Christian” means “a little Christ.” Christ is merciful; therefore he commands his disciples to be merciful. More than that, he tells his disciples that they will not be forgiven unless they forgive others. If you want mercy, you have to give it. In addition Christ is the mediator of mercy. He’s the one that argues our case in front of God the Father. If the world, then, is to see us and find Christ in us, there must be an imitation of that mediator. We are the ambassadors of Christ.

The ultimate example of mercy is Christ on the Cross. It is his atonement sacrifice that brings us forgiveness. But we have not lost the need for ritual. We need to be reminded of that sacrifice, and we need to have an exact moment in time where we can say yes, God forgave me. Communion is a ritual to help us to remember again. It is not an empty ritual; it is not just “going through the motions.” It is the time in which you examine yourself and then present yourself to God asking for his mercy. You do so based on the sacrifice of Christ. It is as if to say, by this blood and by this body I claim your promises to be faithful and just to forgive me. Know that you are forgiven; the moment is at hand.

Previous     Home     Next