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Communion Meditations (2020)

 

Perfection

Originally scheduled for August 2

The church has never suffered from a lack of critics. One of the most annoying sorts is the wearisome soul whose motto is, “Nothing avails but perfection.” This is annoying enough when applied to the various programs and activities of the church. It is more serious, however, when it is applied to other Christians.

We might take this humorously. (I am indebted to Winston Churchill for the story.) It seems there was a sailor walking down the street which was next to a canal. He looked over at the canal and saw a young boy drowning. Heroically, he kicked off his shoes, jumped into the canal and rescued the young lad. About a week later he was walking down the same street when he was stopped by a woman. She asked him, “Are you the sailor that rescued my young lad from the canal?” He modestly allowed us to how he was in fact the sailor who did that. “You’re just the man I’m looking for — where is his hat?”

Expectations — we all have them and often enough they are not very reasonable. Pure perfection is something which is seldom attained by humankind. The result for the perfectionist is a sense of constant disappointment in the Christians around him. It’s actually worse than that; as James points out here:

 

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

(James 5:9 NASB)

 

Why is it that we are so frequently disappointed? There are number of possible reasons.

·         We may be making our judgment on an partial set of facts.

·         It’s also just possible that our own standard of perfection — isn’t perfect.

·         It’s likely enough that we forget that all of us are sinners; none of us is going to hit the mark every time.

 

Communion is a reminder that this type of judgment is dangerous. Sometimes we forget that the crucifixion is the only atonement for sin. Christ’s body (the bread) and blood (the cup) are the only real cure for imperfection. The next time the temptation to judge your Christian brother comes up, remember that Christ died on the cross for this sinner that you want to judge. May I suggest that you be generous in judging your Christian brother, for Christ was generous in judging you.

 

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