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Communion Meditations (2014)

Return to Sender

Originally scheduled for January 19

It does take some time for the Post Office to decide on these things.  But most of us – especially in the senior citizen category – see at least one or two every year.  Your carefully crafted Christmas card and letter are returned with a pale yellow label that starts with the phrase, “Return to Sender.”  It then usually contains a less-than-helpful message like “Insufficient Address” (what?  It worked that way last year when you delivered it) or “Not Deliverable As Addressed” which is then followed by “Unable to Forward.”  The Post Office, it seems, has lost track of your friend. 

Of course, you then try Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and who knows what else on the internet, on the assumption that they simply moved and didn’t mention it to anyone.  One of our missing ones lived in Michigan and now seems to live in Florida, so perhaps we can understand the change – blown southward by the polar vortex, it seems.  But the postal folks still insist on a specific address, and we don’t have one.  We’ve lost a friend, apparently.

You ask yourself how this happened.  Often enough the answer is simple:  they died.  The post office doesn’t necessarily know this, of course.  It’s usually the elderly, but the world holds its surprises too.  Once in a while the disappearance is simply the fact that they moved early in the year, and the postal forwarding address expired.  You scurry through your collection of cards received, hoping to find the envelope, or a Christmas letter, or something with a new address. It’s possible, of course, that they were abducted by space aliens.  But that’s rather unlikely; most of the people I know are far too dull to be of interest to space aliens.

Isn’t it interesting, though, that we will spend a fair amount of time searching out what happened to someone at the other end of a Christmas card – but if someone is missing from Communion this morning it doesn’t really seem to bother us?  It’s as if we invited our entire extended family to a holiday dinner – and then paid no attention to those who didn’t come.

·         It might be something simple, such as a minor illness.  It might be a major one.

·         Perhaps they are upset about something – or someone.

Could it hurt to call and find out?  Communion is the family meal of the church.  People know who the real Christians are by the way they love each other.  When there is an empty chair at the table, we ought to ask the reason.  We build the fellowship of the church by caring for each and every one of our brothers and sisters.  Christ died for each and every one; we can at least watch after them on his behalf.  As you partake, think of those who are missing.  Then this week seek to bring them back to fellowship.

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