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Communion Meditations (2019)



Originally scheduled for September 15

Permit me to stretch your imagination. Let’s suppose you have just moved to a new town and are going, for the first time, to a prominent church in this town. Somewhat to your surprise you discover that they believe in practicing “circus communion.” The trays with the cups are passed out by young men on unicycles who are juggling three of the trays at a time. When they get to your aisle, they fling the tray as if it were a Frisbee, landing it neatly in your lap. The trays with the bread are passed by aerialists hanging from a trapeze swinging by you and dropping the tray in your lap with great precision. As you leave, you hear one of the church members complaining that they really missed the 600 electric guitars and the fireworks. But still, this is the best communion show in town.

The “best communion show” is something which never occurs to most churches, with very good reason. Besides the fact that finding enough unicycle riding jugglers will be somewhat difficult (and the practice sessions extremely messy) there are some good reasons not to do it this way.

·         Such a show is not in the slightest conducive to the practice of self-examination. It distracts you while it entertains you.

·         It also distracts you from one of its primary purposes: remembering the death of Christ. You are to remember his sacrifice until he comes, and this certainly would be a bad way to do it.

·         Finally, it is not in God’s style. He prefers his greatness to be displayed in “jars of clay” (2nd Corinthians 4:7) so that you will not focus on the talent of the human beings doing the work, but upon the work being done.

So then, how should we take communion?

·         It should be done in a solemn manner, as befitting the remembrance of Christ’s death.

·         It should be done gratefully, as it shows to us the blood of Christ by which we have forgiveness of sins and therefore salvation.

·         It should be taken with anticipation, for this is a sign that he will return to judge the living and the dead.

There are reasons we don’t have “circus communion.” But upon self-examination, we take it in a reverent and solemn way, remembering the Lord who gave it to us.

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