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Communion Meditations (2020)


In Charge

Originally scheduled for December 20

One of the more memorable moments in my military career was my introduction to Col. Robinson. He came around to the question of exactly who was in charge of our section, which was responsible for computer programming. The dialogue went something like this:

“Just exactly who is in charge down there?”

            “Well sir, there is a civilian professor who…”

“No, no, no, who is our person in charge? Who is the OIC?”

            “Uhhh, there is no OIC, sir.”

“Well then, who is the NCOIC?”

            “There is no NCOIC either.”

“Just who the (insert military language here) IS in charge?”

            “I guess I am, sir.”

The Colonel then proceeded to throw everybody but me out of the room. He then put the matter bluntly: “From now on, troop, you don’t GUESS you are in charge. You ARE in charge!”

That’s how I found out I was in charge. In the military it’s easier to determine who’s in charge; they usually post the names on the wall. In the church it’s a little more subtle. Particularly as regards to doctrine, there are a number of possible answers:

·         Sometimes, there is a vague coalition of prominent people in the church. They usually express what they don’t want to be said from the pulpit, leaving the preacher to pick from the remaining topics.

·         Sometimes it’s the latest and greatest thought that is available from Christian magazines, or somebody who has a large church. If he can build a 20,000 member church by using naked dancing girls to serve communion, so can we.

·         Most of the time people will tell you that it’s the elders of the church, also known in some groups as bishops or presbyters. In a sense that’s true, but it’s parallel to a traffic cop making a traffic stop. The cop makes the stop and writes the ticket — but the legislature makes the laws. So who’s really in charge here?

The church as a whole has always held that Christ is in charge of the church; He is our Lord. The reason is simple: He is the one who commanded his disciples to go forth to the world and preach the gospel. He commissioned the church. He also bought the church with his body and blood at the crucifixion. The church is his by right of establishment and by right of purchase.

We commemorate that purchase, the atonement, in communion this morning. We remember the price that he paid for our salvation. As you do this, give thought to his authority over the church. Carry that thought with you all through the week; remember that he is not only Savior but Lord.

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