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Communion Meditations (2021)


False Peace

Originally scheduled for August 1

False Peace

"I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. "Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. "Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. "But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

(Amos 5:21-24 NASB)


The Expositor’s Bible, in commenting on this passage, refers to a concept which should become familiar to every Christian: “The False Peace of Ritual.” There’s that sensation that you get when you perform a ritual, and perform it correctly, and conclude that therefore all is well. The ritual serves to reinforce the sense that everything is fine — when it is not. Why is this practice so attractive?

·        There is the comfort of the familiar. It’s like that recliner chair in your living room; it just feels good. But you shouldn’t mistake it for exercise.

·        Ritual is something you can get absolutely right. You cannot live a perfect life but you can perform a perfect ritual. God requires the perfectly right, so ritual feels good.

·        Sometimes, as C. S. Lewis put it, we just want to “let sleeping worms lie.”

·        Other times, ritual become something that is a good example of groupthink. Everybody else seems happy with it; why shouldn’t you be?


Of course, God is not seeking the false peace of ritual. He knows we were just going through the motions and when we really mean it. Note that his understanding of our sincerity doesn’t depend on whether or not we know we really are sincere. We are good at deluding ourselves. So how do you know the difference?

·        The sincerely performed ritual results in glory and praise, genuine praise and honor to God. It’s not just “something we do.”

·        It also produces godly effects in your life. Here, Amos cites the desire for justice and righteousness. True ritual brings you closer to God, and you should see the results in your life.

Therefore, examine yourself this morning. Here are some thoughts for you.

·        Do you see the body and blood of Christ, or just trays and cups? The people who prepared those trays and cups no doubt did it in a way that honors God in their preparation. Do you honor God in your perception?

·        Does communion inspire you to set things right with your brother? Act on that inspiration as soon as you can.

·        Are you driven to sincere prayer instead of simple recital?

Do not let the False Peace of Ritual replace true communion with your Lord Jesus Christ.

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