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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

End of the Line

Originally scheduled for February 28

People who share a common profession often have stories that circulate within that profession. Such is the case with this story. It dates to World War II, where it was common among finance officers in the United States Army.

One of the duties of such an officer was to conduct the monthly payment to individuals. This was done in cash in those days; the problem has therefore gone away today. The difficulty was this: the line was long and those who felt that they were above such things would simply walk to the front of the line and demand to be paid. The person doing this was usually at least a colonel; the finance officer was rarely higher than a captain. It is very awkward asking a colonel to go to the end of a long line. But it can be done.

In this particular instance the colonel pulled up in a chauffeured staff car, walked to the front of the line and presented his ID card, asking to be paid. He felt a tap on the shoulder. Turning around he had no time to be annoyed — staring him in the face was Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. “Colonel, I think it best if we both go to the back of the line.” They did.

The story may be apocryphal, but it demonstrates a characteristic of leadership which can be found also in Jesus Christ. You will remember the Last Supper. It is the culmination of Christ’s leadership of the disciples; the last time he will have them all together, listening.

·         It is a Passover meal. Indeed, not just “a” Passover meal — but “the” Passover meal. In this Passover, the real Lamb is the Lamb of God.

·         It is the last chance for Christ to give instructions. If you look at those instructions they set in order the relationship between the church, Christ and God the Father.

·         The most memorable event of this meal, however, is Christ washing the feet of the disciples. Eisenhower did not send the colonel to the end of the line; he took him there. Christ set the example of humility in washing his disciples’ feet.

Communion should hold the Last Supper as an example. How are we to approach this memorial meal derived from Passover?

·         We must recognize in this meal the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

·         We must recognize the sacrifice made in all humility, and approach the throne of grace the same way.

·         Like the disciples — remember Peter asking to be washed all over — we must approach it asking for the forgiveness of our sins.

Examine yourself. Set your heart and mind on the sacrifice of Christ, seeing his humility as an example for us. Commit yourself to repentance, and ask for forgiveness. Then take, in memory of the Lamb of God.

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