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Communion Meditations (2016)

Seven Pillars

Originally scheduled for July 31

Bible readers who come across the first verse in Proverbs chapter 9 are often puzzled by the phrase “seven pillars.” It seems, from our modern view, an odd structure. It is not. Seven pillars are used to construct an ordinary, quadrangular building used for the purpose of banqueting or feasting. Four pillars are at the corners; the remaining three are in the middle of three walls. The fourth wall is the one that faces the public and is entirely open. Thus it is that such a building presents an open, welcoming entrance. You can see everything in it, nothing is hidden — it almost advertises itself. More than that, the word “pillars” carries with it the idea of the permanence of stone. So we have a welcoming banquet structure, stoutly constructed to last a long time.

The passage consistently refers to wisdom as being female. We might take a look at what wisdom does.

·         She prepares her meat and her wine. It is an interesting parallel to the body and blood of Christ.

·         She then sends her maids out to get people to come into her banquet. It is very much reminiscent of Christ’s parable in Luke 14:16-24 of the banquet for which those invited refused to attend.

·         Most of all, she declares this banquet to be the salvation for the simple and the foolish, those people who lack judgment. It is therefore of great benefit to those who dine with her.

As such we can see something of a parallel between the banquet which wisdom gives and the meal which Christ offers. We may examine the wisdom of communion.

·         Just as wisdom’s banquet is open to all, communion is open to every repentant sinner.

·         Like the stone pillars of wisdom’s house, communion is designed to be permanent — at least until our Lord comes again.

·         Communion, like wisdom, is of great benefit to those who will hear what is said. If you see the body and blood of Christ in it, you understand the mechanism of God’s grace.

Communion, like wisdom (see James 1:5) is given generously. Our Lord laid down his life so that we might have this reminder of our salvation. There is no greater generosity.

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