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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Identification

Originally scheduled for April 4

The oldest known copies of the Old Testament are, as is well known, taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of the fragments of the scrolls are kept in a museum in Israel. Just before it opened, the Museum of the Bible in Washington purchased five such fragments from a private collector. They had been on display for a few months when some of the experts affiliated with the Museum challenged the authenticity of these scraps. The fragments were sent to a lab in Germany, which discovered that they were in fact fake.

It’s a problem for every museum in the world: ancient artifacts are expensive; fake copies are cheap. Even with the best of expertise, it is hard to tell on some artifacts just which ones are real and which ones are not. It is likely that the Museum of the Bible was defrauded out of a large amount of money for these five fragments. Moral of the story? It’s hard to tell the real thing from the clever fraud.

The same thing is true for Christians. How do you tell a “real” Christian from a hypocritical fake? It may seem to be a difficult question, but here’s a little bit of guidance you might apply.

·         If you claim to be a Christian, your life in the body should reflect that. One good test for this is your marriage. Are you faithful to your wife/husband? Do you care for and love them?

·         If you claim to be a Christian, your attitude towards the things of this world should be the same as that which Christ had. What claim do material things have on your life? Do you really have to have a much larger speedboat?

·         If you claim to be a Christian, there are also spiritual matters to be observed. One particularly good example of this is your attitude about forgiveness. Is it something that comes rarely and is withheld frequently, like a grudge? Or are you quick to forgive and quick to reconcile?

The history of every bit of fake art and artifact includes a moment when the fraud is presented to the museum for sale. At some point, someone brings forward those fragments that supposedly came from the Dead Sea Scrolls and presents them as the real thing, for sale. Fraudulent Christians do the same thing: they present themselves at communion, claiming to be genuine disciples of Christ. It’s hard to tell the real from the fake; after all, each and every one of us is a sinner. But perhaps you could apply these tests to your self.

·         Do you live like one who has received the body of Christ, recognizing the suffering of your Lord and Savior, who died for your sins? If you feel like you deserved it, may we suggest that you think again?

·         Do you live like one who has been washed of his sins by the blood of Christ? If you live like someone who thinks this is trivial, may we suggest that you think again?

When you take communion, you proclaim that you are the real thing: a genuine disciple of Christ. If you are not, please — do not partake. Do not take lightly that which cost your Lord his life. You claim to be a Christian — are you?

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