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Communion Meditations (2014)

Buying A Communion Table

Originally scheduled for April 27

The chances are pretty good that your church is not in the market for a communion table.  It’s something most churches buy once in their existence, unless they have a fire.  The styles have changed over the years, but the general parameters are about the same as always.  But if you do happen to be looking for a new communion table, let me recommend a supplier.  There name is IPI; you can find their website on the internet.  As of this writing you can get what they describe as an “ornate” communion table for about $2,200.  A simpler and cheaper version is available.

Now, you might well ask, why am I telling you this?  It’s pretty simple, really.  IPI stands for Iowa Prison Industries.  As you might guess, this means that the table is manufactured in a prison in Iowa, by prisoners.

There is something rather satisfying about that.  Those who work in prison ministry will tell you that the typical prisoner is a ripe subject for conversion – he’s had plenty of time to contemplate his sins, and how little his own efforts at reform have achieved.   (They’ll also tell you to watch out for the con artists who fake repentance ).  It’s satisfying because communion is for sinners.

Communion is something that sinners do to remember the sacrifice of the Sinless One.  It commemorates the Atonement – something we couldn’t do for ourselves, for the atonement sacrifice had to be perfect, and we’re not.  Indeed, it’s worth remembering that the only known qualification for becoming a Christian is that you have to be a sinner first.  Some of us (blows on fingernails, polishes on shirt) are quite well qualified, too.

There it is:  you, like the prisoners in the prison, are a sinner.  It is no matter;  Christ died for sinners, in or out of prison.  He did so at the will and command of God the Father, so we may safely conclude God thinks that those prisoners are worth saving – and so are you.

So as you partake of the bread today remember that his body was broken for the worst of mankind as well as the best.  His blood was shed to cleanse the sins of the foulest offenders, in or out of prison.  As you partake, give thanks the He included you when He said, “Whosoever will…”

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