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Communion Meditations (2021)



Originally scheduled for February 21

He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.

(Psalms 25:9 NASB)


Perhaps the observation is so obvious that it is therefore seldom made. But it is true: every other spiritual leader the world has ever known tells you that he (or she) knows the way. They may point you to heaven, Nirvana, or reincarnation — but the point is, they point. Jesus of Nazareth quite deliberately put it differently: “I AM the Way.” If you don’t think so, consider this: all other spiritual leaders tell you which way to go. But in the ultimate spiritual conflict, death, none of them lead you in the way. True leaders go first. Jesus Christ led the way through death, burial and resurrection. He is therefore the firstborn from the dead, leading us in his ways. So the psalmist may say that he leads the humble in justice. For us he has led us in the resurrection, so he will lead us in delivering justice when he returns. In the meanwhile, we must practice what we have learned.

This observation is not complete without the second half of this verse; Jesus teaches. How does Jesus teach us? There are many ways. There are, of course, the Scriptures. These are taught to us by those who are appointed by the church. There are many other methods by which he teaches us, including answers to prayer. But in this instance he teaches us by ritual, by ceremony.

Teaching by ceremony has certain characteristics which make it a very powerful tool.

·         It is sparingly done. Various denominations disagree on how many ceremonies are authorized in the Scriptures, but it’s a small number. It may be as little as two, the other one being baptism.

·         Ceremony, rightly done, is simple — and therefore easy to understand, not requiring great learning.

·         Ceremony deliberately appeals both to the head and the heart. It is not a “go through the motions” kind of thing. It touches the human soul.

Communion is taken from its prototype, Passover. The picture of Passover tells the same story, like a forecast. When Christ implemented communion, he told us to do it until he comes again. Considering Passover as the past tense, communion as present tense and the Great Judgment as future tense, we can see its meaning easily.

We know that the bread represents his body; the cup, his blood. The ceremony is to bring to the memory the sacrifice of Christ. It is a high form of teaching by example.

·         By offering the perfect sacrifice, God teaches us that his standard for acceptance is sinless perfection. Nothing else will do. Only Christ ever met that standard.

·         He also taught us that sin requires atonement; the debt must be paid.

·         Then he taught us the greatest lesson of all: love. No greater love has a demand that he lay down his life for his friends — which is what Christ did for us.

There you have the head knowledge and the stirring of the heart. But there is one thing else the ceremony requires: your wholehearted participation. Do this in memory of Him; do it in a manner worthy of his memory.


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