While You Were Out
Originally scheduled for December 13
Those of us whose experience predates the takeover by computers will
remember a simple system used to track phone calls that you missed
while you were out. It was based around a simple form, printed on
pink paper, with the heading at the top, “While You Were Out.” On
this form your secretary would write the details of whatever phone
call you missed, or whoever stop by or any other events of
significance. These were then placed on a spindle — a bluntly
pointed spike — on top of your desk.
Note, please, that this meant that these messages were in last
arrived, first seen order. That meant that if you got down to the
bottom of the pile you could suddenly discover that you had been
working on the wrong things. Gahan Wilson, a cartoonist for whom the
word “bizarre” was a mild and modest description, once demonstrated
this quite nicely. His cartoon shows an executive looking at the
next pink slip on the spindle. He has a horrified expression on his
face. Deservedly so; the entire message is written in Egyptian
The computer has taken over this task, but the use of reminders is
still very important. It seems we can’t run our lives without
reminders. Communion is just such a reminder, and exhibits to us why
we need them.
Communion is a recurring reminder. It comes up at regular intervals.
Experience has shown that we need such reminders for even the
It’s also something important. It reminds us of the body and blood
of Christ; of his atonement which is at the center of the Christian
Perhaps most important of all, communion is a personal reminder. It
is a one on one meeting with Christ, not a committee meeting. Like
most of the important things in life, it’s personal.
If we are reminded, the purpose is for us to remember something.
Communion carries with it its own remembrances.
It causes us to remember the crucifixion, death and burial of
Christ. That brings to memory the price of the atonement. It also
teaches us that Christ was fully human; he died like one of us.
It causes us to remember the Resurrection. This is the proof that
Christ has power over death and the grave, and that he has promised
to use that power to raise those who love him from the dead. It also
shows us that Christ was fully God, for only God can command the
It causes us to remember that he is coming again. This is not just a
reunion; it is also the start of the Judgment. He will come to judge
the living and the dead, bringing his reward in his hand.
Do not dismiss Communion as just something we do every week, or
every month. It is the recurring reminder of the essentials of the