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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Aches

Originally scheduled for February 7

It’s Sunday morning. The alarm is going off and you are staring at the ceiling. Your body checks in with its assorted pains. Your feet are cold. Your knees ache. Your back is not happy about getting up, either. And to top it off, you have a headache — and it’s Sunday morning. You have to go to church.

You go down to breakfast. The toaster is on the fritz and has presented you with a burnt offering which vaguely resembles a slice of bread. The orange juice reminds you that you have a sore throat. It’s the eggs that really do it for you: you forgot your spouse had promised the kids green eggs and ham for breakfast. Thank you, Dr. Seuss.

Starting at the breakfast table — and you know it’s going to continue in the car all the way to church — is the petty bickering of your children. Just at the moment when you want the world see your children as smiling and happy, they’re going to get out of the car as little crabs on the edge of an explosion.

As you sit ready to take communion, you wonder: did Jesus ever have to put up with this stuff? Does he know what I go through just to get to communion?

·         Did he suffer from pain and exhaustion? He once fell asleep in a small boat in the middle of a storm. He knew what it is to be tired.

·         He knew the problems of the world, also. Remember when the tax collectors harassed him for the two-drachma tax — and he told Peter to go fishing for it?

·         The ordinary spiritual side of life for him has its problems too. How do you think he felt knowing that Judas was going to betray him?

We sometimes forget that Jesus was a man like us; fully human and therefore subject to the foibles of this world, the people in it and the troubles of the future. The ultimate moment of suffering for him contained all three ingredients: pain, the world’s misery and spiritual troubles too. It happened at the Cross. He went to the pain and suffering of crucifixion. In so doing he faced the mockery of the world; crucifixion was designed as public entertainment as well as punishment. He also suffered the ultimate spiritual problem: separation from God, his Father.

Why? Because he loves you, that’s why. He asks that you partake of communion to remember what he did for you. He suffered the pain, he suffered the world, he suffered in spirit — for us. As you partake this morning, keep in mind what it cost to have this ceremony. Partake in an appropriate spirit, and know that he understands your troubles quite well — he was human too.

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