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Communion Meditations (2017)

Slick Willie

Originally scheduled for January 1

For most of us, the name Willie Sutton does not ring any immediate alarms. He died back in 1980, so it is no surprise that he is not featured on current TV programs. Mr. Sutton, also known as Slick Willie, was a financial withdrawal specialist. For those of you who are not familiar with politically correct language, that means a bank robber. By whatever technical, ethical and professional standards that profession might happen to boast, Willie was a pretty good bank robber. He robbed over 200 banks, collecting over $4 million. Though he toted a Thompson submachine gun, no one was ever injured in any of his bank robberies. An enterprising soul, he escaped from prison three different times. His bank robberies were masterpieces of disguise and deception.

He would probably be unknown today except for a quotation which is attributed to him. Supposedly, some reporter asked him why he robbed all those banks. His answer, according to legend, is “because that’s where the money is.” In his autobiography Willie specifically denies ever having said it, and speculates that some reporter on a deadline just made it up. Whether he said it or not, he should have. It’s the kind of thing somebody named Slick Willie would say.

Christ had somewhat of a similar response on occasion. If you will recall, his troubles with the Pharisees centered around two things:

·         He claimed to be the son of God.

·         He partied hearty with all of the sinners, lowlifes, drunkards and prostitutes he could find.

In dealing with the second accusation, Christ gave an explanation very similar to what Willie might have. He said (Luke 19:10) that he had come to seek and save the lost — and at the moment, the lost were partying with him. If you want to seek the sinners, you have to go to the party.

Perhaps this seems trivial to you. But it has a great importance. Christ did not come to make perfect those who are righteous. He came to seek and save the lost; that’s his mission statement. If you want to know whether or not someone is successful, you have to know what he was trying to do. That’s what He was trying to do.

He accomplished this at the Cross. He established communion for us so that we might remember this fact. That fact includes the idea that he came for the lost. Communion is not just for those who have lived a perfectly righteous life, whoever those people might be. Communion is for those of us who are sinners. When we take the cup and the loaf, we see the blood and body of Christ, sacrificed for us. He sacrificed himself for the least, and the lost. And that includes all of us.

So may I ask you: as you partake today, be grateful. He came for you, specifically. He did not ask you to become righteous before you could participate; he made you righteous by his sacrifice. He asks you to participate today to remember what He has done for you.

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