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Communion Meditations (2020)

 

Photography

Originally scheduled for June 28

With the advent of the digital photograph, the practice of photography has become quite a bit more ordinary. We seem to be willing to pull out our smart phones on the least of occasions and take several pictures. But like most of the things we do, photography is done with the purpose. Let’s take a look at three such purposes.

 

Transition

We like to photograph certain occasions such as weddings and graduations. One of the reasons for this is that these occasions mark a transition in human lives. There’s a very good example of this from World War II:

 Kissing sailor

The occasion is a very memorable one: the transition from war to peace on V-J Day, the end of World War II. Unlike most pictures of transitions, this one is most notable for the sheer exuberance shown — at least on the part of the sailor. It captures the emotions of the moment.

Communion likewise is a marker of transition. It is a mark of the transition from the law of the Old Testament to the grace of the New Testament. For us each personally, it is a marker of our transition from the death of this world to the life eternal. As for our sailor, it is a cause for joy.

 

Reminder

Some photographs are meant to remind us of a particular person. Often enough we cherish the photographs of those who are deceased but were precious to us in life. Here’s a good example from World War II:

Winston Churchill

There are hundreds of portraits of Winston Churchill. This is the most remembered one. Why? Because it captures the bulldog spirit of the man who led Great Britain out of its darkest hour, or as he himself put it, “their finest hour.” He did that with unshakable will to victory, wielding the English language as his bright, sharp sword. The picture captures his likeness, but more than that it captures his spirit. Communion does that for us in portraying Christ. He loved us so much that he gave his life that we might be free from the curse of sin. It is our picture of his love.

 

Inspiration

Perhaps the highest purpose of the photograph would be to inspire the viewer to action. The photograph which prompts you to “go and do likewise” is a powerful one indeed. Here is an example from World War II:

 Iwo Jima Flag Raising

The photograph was taken during the battle for Iwo Jima. Its power of inspiration was shown in a similar photograph taken of the New York Fire Department, raising the flag over the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11. Both photos stir the hearts of patriots. The firefighters most certainly did “go and do likewise.”

 

Communion serves the same purposes as these photographs. It marks the transition from law to grace, and from death to life. It reminds us of the one who made that transition possible; it is our picture of his body and blood. It is an inspiration to go and love as Christ has loved us. As you partake this morning, remember from where you came in the transition to where you are now. Remember the Lord who made that transition possible, and let him be your inspiration for greater acts of love.

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