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Communion Meditations (2019)

 

Last Judgment

Originally scheduled for March 3

 It is fairly rare for an evangelical, Protestant church to have an annual liturgical calendar. The device is common, however, for the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox. The theory seems to be that by putting everything on the calendar you will be reminded of everything important at least once a year. For example, in the Eastern Orthodox calendar today is the “Sunday of the Last Judgment.” This is the Sunday when the Last Judgment is brought into the center of focus. It is also called “Meatfare Sunday” as it is the last day on which an Eastern Orthodox Christian can eat meat before the season of Lent.

It’s a good reminder that communion will last until the Lord returns. That’s an often repeated statement, but perhaps you haven’t considered what it really means. As long as you’re taking communion, the Last Judgment has not yet arrived. But it will. Our Lord lays out the criteria by which the righteous arrive in heaven this way:

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

(Matthew 25:34-40)

 

This sometimes confuses Christians who have been taught that they are saved by faith alone. But the Scripture does not recognize faith as something which is an intellectual assent and nothing more. You are saved by faith; but faith without works is dead. As James puts it,

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

(James 2:14-17)

 

Shortly put, if you have real faith it will show and what you do in your life. When you come to communion and partake, you are declaring that you have that real faith. You acknowledge the source of that faith as the atonement of Christ — his body and his blood. Should you not also acknowledge that you should be displaying the results of that faith? You are a Christian — a “little Christ.” You should then imitate him in the good that he did to show that you are one of his. Then, when the Last Judgment arrives you will hear is welcome and not his dismissal. Partake willingly; then go forth and be the body of Christ in this world.

 

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