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Communion Meditations (2017)

Moderation

Originally scheduled for February 12

It may come as a surprise to you, but there is no verse in Scripture that says, “moderation in all things.” There is reason for this, which we will get to shortly. But we understand the principal rather well. There some things in life that you just have to take in moderation, otherwise they will dominate your life and turn you into someone who is really unpleasant. The most common phenomenon is worldly ambition; so many of us love to dig, claw and scratch our way to the next level in the hierarchy that we fail to recognize we are overdoing it. If you’re an entrepreneur, this might be replaced by greed — the idea that more money, no matter its price, is always a good thing. And for those of us who are more biological in our thought, there is always the idea that sex is the ultimate good thing. Of course, there are other things that can take up this point of being a moderate; you can be overly passionate about model railroading, knitting or collecting teapots. The one thing that’s characteristic of everything from sex to teapots is this: it’s easy for someone looking at you to see that you have a problem. It’s rather difficult for the person with the problem to see it. So we usually settle for just reciting the proverb.

The truth is, however, that the existence of moderation implies the existence of a dominating thought. Moderation, by its definition, is something which is between two extremes. One of those extremes is usually “nothing.” The other one is usually, “everything.” Thus the existence of moderation implies the existence of at least one or two extremes. And if the extremes don’t exist, it’s difficult to tell when you’re being moderate. For the Christian, the extreme is obvious: devotion to Christ. It is the hub in which all the other spokes of life must fit. Without that one dominating passion, the rest of life makes no sense. But with it: moderation becomes obvious and easy to practice. In short, moderation in one thing (Christ) is a bad idea; extreme devotion is a good one.

How did this come about? How is it that Christ has earned this place of extreme devotion? There are three rather obvious reasons:

·         He is God. It’s his universe; he made it.

·         More than that, he came down to us in the same form we live in — a human body. He devoted himself to us so that we might devote ourselves to him.

·         At the end of that, he gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He sacrificed all, for all.

As you partake of communion this morning, may I ask you to remember three things about Him:

·         Remember the glory he gave up to come to you.

·         Remember the condescension he made to take on human form. He who is God became one of us.

·         Remember also the sacrifice of his body and blood, which is symbolized in the bread and the cup.

Take, eat — and remember.

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