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Communion Meditations (2019)



Originally scheduled for March 10

Most Christians are blissfully unaware of the traditions of those who don’t belong to their denomination. Walking into a worship service conducted in a foreign language can leave you quite puzzled. Today, in the liturgical churches, is Forgiveness Sunday. The ceremony is rather elaborate and includes such things as everyone asking everyone else for forgiveness, in small groups, while being prostrate on the floor. I guess you have to be there.

Like most worship services, this one includes music. Here is an English translation of one of the hymns that is sung during this service:

Master, Teacher of wisdom,

Bestower of virtue,

You teach the thoughtless and protect the poor:

Strengthen and enlighten my heart.

Word of the Father,

Let me not restrain my mouth from crying to you:

Have mercy on me, a transgressor,

O merciful Lord!


It’s an interesting sequence to obtain forgiveness.

·         First, you acknowledge who Christ is. He is your master, which is to say he is your Lord. He is your teacher; from him you learn what God wants. And he is the one who bestows good things on you, whether or not you deserve them. Indeed the undeserving — the “thoughtless” here — deserve it least but need it most.

·         Next, you ask his care for you, particularly for your heart. Often enough our courage fails and we need him to strengthen us. Sometimes we need to have our spirit realigned to the truth, and he is our teacher for that.

·         Then, you ask him to forgive you — even if you have to ask him to give you the courage to do the asking.

You may approach communion the same way. Many of us use communion as the time we ask God to forgive us, and this sequence is a good way to do it. So:

·         Acknowledge Christ for who he is — Lord, teacher, provider.

·         Thank him for his care for you.

·         Then, ask his forgiveness for your sins.

Having examined yourself, and sought the forgiveness of God, take and eat in a worthy manner. Remember it is his death on the cross that provided your atonement — the pathway to your forgiveness.

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