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Communion Meditations (2016)

Prayer List

Originally scheduled for May 1

Like many other Christians who participate in ministries which are external to their own local church, I get occasional copies of a prayer list. This particular ministry is one which deals with prisons and prisoners throughout America, but the requests from them seem rather ordinary. They seldom have to do with the prison ministry itself, but have everything to do with the human beings in that ministry. In a way that’s a very comforting thought. Why?

·         It reminds us that the church is universal — we have Christians all over the world. They go in prayer to the same God that we do.

·         It reminds us that suffering is not something that is confined to those who are super Christians. That prayer list holds out the same illnesses, medical conditions, family conditions and death that you would see in any local church.

·         It reminds us that the church is one body, with its members having many gifts. Prison ministry is not something that is easy, nor is it “for everybody.” For example, children are usually not allowed. We have differing gifts and differing responsibilities.

The source of this unity, this “one-ness” comes from Jesus himself. He is the head of the church, and he is the glue that holds her together. When you look at the church as a collection of different people, you see many different people. When you look at the church as one faith, you see one faith. This is taken from the example given to us in the Trinity; God is three, but yet one.

This is symbolized to us in communion. On any given Sunday communion is being celebrated in churches around the world. There are many many different places, but there is one body. Just like there is one bread which is used to symbolize Christ’s body, broken for us. Many pieces; one body. Similarly, the cup that we partake comes from one source; or as a Scripture would say, one blood. The wine in my cup is the same as the wine in yours, portraying to us the one blood of Jesus Christ given for our salvation.

It is therefore no accident or point of trivia that we are taught to examine ourselves before communion. At the very least we should look at ourselves and ask whether or not we are indeed part of that one body, partaking that one blood. Communion should bind us together, not split us apart. As you partake this morning, ask yourself this: am I one with the body of Christ, or am I leading yet another fragment out the door?

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