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Communion Meditations (2019)

 

Battleship

Originally scheduled for May 19

In the mid-1980s your author had a most unusual and enjoyable experience. A friend of mine was the Engineering Officer for the USS New Jersey, an Iowa class battleship built for World War Two. He invited me to come down and see the ship — meaning, that we would crawl all over everything from the bilge to the topmast. I am a naval ship enthusiast and I considered this quite a delight.

The ship itself weighs about 60,000 tons, mostly steel. Though this is no longer the largest ship afloat (the Nimitz class carriers weigh over 100,000 tons) it is quite large. People sometimes ask why they had to be that big. The answer is a simple process of naval engineering. If you want the ship to go a certain speed, carrying that number of huge guns, with that much armor there is a minimum size you have to make the ship. Naval ships are designed for a particular type of war, and all of the blueprints reflect the task the ship will have to carry out. For example: the conning tower on the ship has armor which is 18 inches thick, to resist enemy shells. The ship is rather complicated, and training the crew occupies a great deal of the Navy’s concern. The ship itself must be the right size, have the right weapons, engines and armor and be crewed by people who know what they are doing.

God has a similar problem with his saints. If you don’t mind the analogy being stretched a bit, there are some of his saints that are genuine battleships. There are others whose capabilities are not quite so exalted. God prepares his saints in a particular way:

·         He knows what you will face. He prepares you for the trials and temptations which are going to come to you.

·         He never gives you too much to handle. He knows what you can do, and what you can’t, so that he never presents you with something beyond your capability.

·         But — he never gives you the details, just the preparation. This can be frustrating.

Football practice is never fun-fun-fun. You have to work at it. Similarly, there is no sense having a battleship without a trained crew — and a captain willing to use it. Put shortly, we have to be willing to accept the training we’re being given and use it for God’s purposes. That means we have to be willing to suffer on his behalf.

Christ went through the same thing. In the wilderness he was tempted with the flesh, the world and pride. He was ready for it, for he knew the Scriptures. In the garden he was tormented by fear of death — a horrible death. He overcame it by his practiced submission to the Father. As you partake of communion this morning, you are sharing in that sense of submission and sacrifice with your Lord. He said, “this is my body; this is my blood.” You become more like him in communion. So as you partake, remember his sacrifice. Be encouraged, that your Lord will take care of you as you prepare to do likewise.

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