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Communion Meditations (2019)

 

Pollution

Originally scheduled for April 14

One of the consistent problems in our country today is pollution. By this I do not mean pollution in general. Let us consider specific points of pollution. Suppose you find out somebody has been dumping chemicals in a back lot someplace near you. The problem quickly becomes how to neutralize those chemicals — and that problem is usually very messy.

In the Old Testament the word  “pollution” is usually applied to the land of Israel. It is not chemical pollution; it is spiritual pollution. Let’s see how this works:

·         We name that part of the world the “Holy Land.” The Bible makes it clear that the land of Israel belongs to God; it is his.

·         Therefore, the Israelites are just tenants in the land — and therefore have an obligation to keep things tidy in the spiritual sense.

·         If Israel damages the land, God takes action.

You might then well ask how does this pollution happen. In those days three things are most commonly mentioned as sources of pollution in the land.

·         Adultery is most often mentioned. God uses marriage as a portrayal of his love for his people, and his love for his people is pure.

·         Parallel to that is idolatry, the worship of other gods.

·         Interestingly, bloodshed — particularly bloodshed involving sacrificing your children to other gods — is also polluting the land.

We might update these into the modern time as follows.

·         Adultery needs no update. God has painted on the living canvas of our bodies a picture of Christ’s love for the church. That love is still pure and he wants that purity in your marriage as well.

·         Idolatry today might take the form of materialism — the desire for the bigger boat, the faster car and the more expensive house.

·         Bloodshed today might just be the same thing — sacrificing your children. There is no shortage of abortion in our country.

Of course, it’s easy to define the problem, and a lot harder to clean it up. So how do we clean up spiritual pollution?

·         Repentance. We begin by stating the obvious, that we are sinners. We admit to God that we have committed these sins and that we have sorrow for them.

·         Reformation. Once you have admitted the sin it makes no sense to go back and repeated over and over again. The effort must be made to reform.

·         Given those two things, we can then ask God for forgiveness.

In communion, we see the forgiveness of God offered to all mankind. It is by the atonement of Christ, his body and blood on the cross, that we are offered forgiveness at all. This is symbolized to us in communion by the bread and the cup. Taken in earnest, with no deception intended, communion starts us in the steps of purification. As you partake this morning, do not take this as an empty ritual but rather a gateway to God’s forgiveness.

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