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Communion Meditations (2017)


Originally scheduled for July 30

One of the more significant inventions in the computer business was the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pull Downs) interface. This is the familiar interface you have today if you have a Windows PC or Macintosh. In particular, the use of an icon replaced the previous method of starting a computer program in which you had to know the exact file location and the correct spelling of the computer program name. The icon simply represented the program, and did so graphically — a picture.

That’s where it got its name. The original word “icon” came from the Greek, and it means a picture. To this day the Orthodox churches paint and distribute icons — not the computer type, but pictures of Christ or the saints. Interestingly, they are not just pictures. A true icon must be something that causes the person looking at it to want to pray. In a sense, it invokes the power of the object pictured.

Taking both of them in common, you see that an icon:

·         Stands for something else.

·         Lets you access that something else, in some sense.

·         And it is not a copy of the thing for which it stands; it is a picture of the thing for which it stands.

Communion can be thought of as an icon — for the wedding supper of the Lamb. You can see the connection when you remember that Christ told us to do this “until He comes.” Communion therefore points forward to the return of Christ and of course the wedding supper of the Lamb. It is no secret that communion deeply touches (or should) every Christian who participates, for it is our access to the core of Christianity — the sacrifice of Christ. And like the icon, it is an accurate portrayal — but not yet a complete one. Not until the Lord returns will communion, the picture, be replaced with the wedding supper, the reality.

So, as you take communion, remember that you are invoking the idea of the atonement. You are saying to the world (and to yourself) that it is the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross that you are celebrating. In that way communion looks to the past, but you also invoke a view of the future — the Second Coming and the Day of Judgment. It may seem to you that this is a little bit hard to comprehend. This is normal, as the Scripture says today we see dimly, like in a clouded mirror, but in that day we shall see Him face to face. The picture, the icon, is before us. Let us look through it to see the reality: the atonement of Christ preceding the return and the Day of Judgment.

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