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Communion Meditations (2006)

Amateur Theatricals

Originally delivered August 27

During the American Civil War a general named  John Magruder found himself with about ten thousand men, staring across the battle lines at the Army of the Potomac.  His opponent, McClellan, was a cautious man—and Magruder gave him something to be cautious about.

Magruder, you see, was a man fond of amateur theatrical performance.  He was an enthusiastic if not particularly able actor, and he gave the performance of his life that day.  The bulk of his men were set to convincing the Union Army that they were faced with a numerically superior force.  One deception in particular is worth noting. 

A band of forest ran through Magruder’s front.  Normally, any soldiers marching through the forest would be unseen, but there was one patch not so concealing.  Magruder lined up a few men and sent them through that patch—over and over again.  The Union observers dutifully counted all the marchers, confirming McClellan in his opinion that he was about to be attacked by an overwhelming force!

Deception—an art of war as well as theater.  Our enemy uses it too:

· There is deception of the body—you must have the right tan, drink the right drink, wear the right clothes, eat at the right restaurants.

· There is deception of the mind—life consists entirely of the toys you buy; when the woman gets older, divorce her and get a younger model; drive the right car and show the world how important you are.

· There is indeed deception of the soul—the weariness of things obtained; the truly sophisticated think this way; indeed, to the point where Saturday night never meets Sunday morning in your mind.

But through a little clearing the Truth may be seen.  You have arrived at that clearing, for in the Lord’s Supper you proclaim the Truth:

· You proclaim Him to be both God and man—worthy to be worshiped, human to be our atonement.

· You proclaim His death on the Cross, atoning for our sins.

· You proclaim His Resurrection, the triumph over the grave.

· You proclaim His coming again (soon, Lord, soon).

Fear not, little flock;  the Truth is ever in the Light.

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