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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

Separation

Originally scheduled for August 12

This is the last mention of Passover in the Old Testament. The ceremony itself has changed little over the hundreds of years; most of the changes had to do with the practical aspects of hurting so many animals into be sacrificed. But we might note something here: the priests have a prescribed ritual for purification which they must undergo before they can supervise the Passover. The ordinary citizen of Israel does not. There are two requirements which are placed upon that ordinary citizen:

·         First, he must be one of those who has returned from exile. He has left Babylon (often used as a marker for “sin city.”) Symbolically, he has made the trip from sin to sanctity.

·         Next, he must have separated himself from the impurity around him. Note please that this is not particularly specific; it’s acknowledged that the nations around Israel are wicked. Our citizen preparing for the Passover must reject this.

Indeed, the essence of the matter for the common citizen is separation. As we can see from the New Testament, separation is the basis of holiness. Permit me a simple example. In my household we have two sets of dishes. There is the ordinary, daily use, almost indestructible dishware; we also have a set of “good china” which is used for special occasions — think of Thanksgiving dinner. It is set aside for those special purposes where we are dining a little more formally and usually celebrating some sort of occasion. That “set aside”, that separation is a small example of holiness.

Separation is for a purpose. Our good china is set aside for those special occasions. In this instance, as verse 21 shows us, the purpose of this separation is so that the people might seek the Lord. You get rid of the distractions and it’s easier to hear what the Lord might have to say to you. But separation is also from something — impurity. If you set that good china before your guests, it should be clean. In our time impurity is so common that it scarcely is worth mentioning.

We must remember that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by our Lord using Passover, as he was our Passover lamb. It is no great stretch to conclude that as the ancient Israelite was to separate himself from the sin which surrounded him, the modern Christian must do likewise before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, may I ask you to separate your self from the impurity of this world before you take communion? Examine yourself; see if there is any wicked way within you. Be honest; nothing else works. Then, repent of whatever wickedness you have found, promising the Lord that you will make amends and remedy what you can. Finally, with a clean heart, partake in the supper that unites all Christians in their Lord.

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