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Communion Meditations (2016)

Walking About

Psalm 119:44-45

Originally scheduled for August 14

Some readers, particularly Americans, will look at these two verses and see what appears to be a contradiction. The way of freedom, it seems, is said here to consist of two things:

·         First, you must obey God’s laws forever.

·         Second, you must seek out God’s precepts.

This, the psalmist says, will result in you walking about in freedom. For many of us it seems the exact opposite. What we really want to do is be free of God’s laws and his precepts; then we will consider ourselves really free. We may begin by seeking the fallacy in that reasoning.

Let us suppose that you are in possession of one octopus and one eagle. In your desire to set these creatures free, you bundle up the octopus into your hand and hurl it into the air, crying out, “Fly! Fly!” The octopus, I suspect, would view this procedure rather dimly. The eagle, on the other hand, would view it in exactly the way you intended — it permits him to be free. What’s the difference? Pretty simple, really. An eagle is intended and designed to fly. If you want the octopus to be free, throw him in the ocean. The creature is free when it is able to do what its creator designed it to do. Freedom does not consist of anything you want; it consists of doing what you were designed to do.

So then, what was man designed to do? At the very beginning of the Bible, God says “let us make man in our image.” You were designed to be like God. Therefore, when you are most like God, you are most free. The first step in this is obedience to his laws. Eagles, for example, don’t attempt to reinvent the laws of flight or aerodynamics; they take advantage of the laws that exist. To do this, they have to have in their way some knowledge of the laws of flight. Similarly, human beings if they are to imitate God must know what the rules of spiritual life are. We must first be obedient if we are to be free.

But it is the second step that concerns us with regard to communion this morning. We are to “seek his precepts.” We are to look and find the basic principles by which God operates. This does not concern us with the tiny little infractions, but the grand sweep of what God has done. It is quite clear what his precepts start with. He tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. These are his great precepts. He has taught them to you not just by word but by example. Communion is given to you so that every time you partake you will remember what he has done both so that you may be grateful and so that you may take his example. No greater love exists than that of a man laying down his life for his friends — and that’s what he’s done for you. He died — it’s his body, it’s his blood — so that you might live forever in the imitation of God.

So, consider well this morning your obedience to his laws. Is there repentance due? Then do it quickly and do it thoroughly. Then, as you leave, remember he has given you the great example of love. Freedom for human beings comes when they seek his precepts, and there is none greater than this. When you leave this morning, do so as a child of God walking in love.

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