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Communion Meditations (2020)

 

Government

Originally scheduled for March 15

In a phrase cherished by Americans, governments derive their “just powers” from the “consent of the governed.” In longer words, we give our government authority to perform various functions which are beneficial to us. There is a subtle connection here, in that the more beneficial we see that arm of government to be, the more likely we are to be in submission to its authority. For example, most of us would have no hesitation in arguing with the tax people about their misinterpretation of our tax returns. But that same “most of us” would unhesitatingly and immediately pull over to the side of the road to let a fire truck with sirens and lights blazing go by. Our various governments perform many different functions, but we generally respond by respecting the ones who deliver most. Assuming some reasonable amount of efficiency, we respect and acknowledge the authority of a government in proportion to the effort they put forward and benefit they bring to us.

The same type of test can be applied to the authority of Christ. We can at least examine the effort and cost of Christ’s coming, and the benefits it has brought us.

·         Consider first the price of the Incarnation. The one who considered himself equal with God, for all of eternity, became a human being. CS Lewis used the analogy that this is like one of us becoming a barnacle to save the barnacles.

·         For this we have been given direct access to God — your prayers are heard — and the forgiveness of sins leading to salvation. This is not the limit of what God has given us, but it far outweighs anything any government will ever do for us.

·         All of this was done at the expense of the Cross. It is the greatest sacrifice a human being can make, particularly a human being who didn’t deserve it.

The result of this is, as Matthew tells us, that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ. He then commissions us to take the gospel to the world. But he also gave us communion — so that we might remember this price paid. I would have you look at communion this morning in a different light: it is a sign that you are indeed a practicing Christian, and therefore accept Christ as the supreme authority in your life.

Just how does a Christian symbolizes acceptance of Christ? Look around you. You will see some wearing a pendant in the shape of a cross. Others are wearing a pin shaped like a cross. Most of us carry a Bible. Some of us have a Christian bumper sticker on our car. But the one thing Jesus gave us that declares we are His is communion. In communion we acknowledge the sacrifice of his body, symbolized by the bread. In communion we acknowledge the sacrifice of his blood, symbolized by the cup. The apostle Thomas put it into words: “my Lord and my God.” That’s what were saying when we take communion: “my Lord and my God.”

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