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Communion Meditations (2014)

To The Pure

Originally scheduled for December 7

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

(Titus 1:15 NASB)


Paul’s message to Titus in this little passage contains a very important point. Most Christians see communion as a very high part of the worship service. But there are always a few who say, “it’s just a ritual.” Mr. Webster defines ritual as “a formal act of religion.” If we are to understand ritual, we must understand formality. This is becoming exceedingly difficult in most evangelical churches because we have adopted the stance that everything in our church is casual, and therefore laid back and “cool.”

Those of us of sufficient antiquity can remember a time when we went to church wearing our (literally) “Sunday best.” If you are born just after World War II, you probably grew up going to church wearing a white shirt and a tie of some sort. Most parents were willing to compromise with a clip-on tie. We might well ask why they did this.

·         If you asked them directly, they would probably reply was something like, “to show respect to God.” There was the vague feeling that dressing in your best was a good way to show honor to God.

·         It also had the advantage of showing other people how important that ritual was to us. If you wore a coat and tie to church, it signified that this was an important occasion.

Those who were among the pure at heart would have understood these reasons, agreed with them and have trusted this agreement to mean that everybody else thought so too. To the impure heart, however, this would seem to be nothing but hypocrisy. After all, they didn’t mean when they put on a tie on for church; so why would they think that you meant it?

There is in all of this a test for us. If you look upon communion as a boring ritual, that may say something for the people who organize communion. But it says a lot more about you. Communion is, at root, a simple ritual and one which is perfectly clear in its symbolism. If you see yourself in communion as being surrounded by hypocrites who don’t really mean it when they take this ceremonial meal, perhaps the problem is not with them but with you.

To the pure, all things are pure — and that includes communion. The pure in heart see communion as the body and blood of Christ, taken in remembrance of him until the day arrives when he returns. So, which of these two is your reaction? Is it holy, sacred and solemn? Or is it just something we have to get through to get on with the sermon? The answer says very little about communion, but a lot about you.

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