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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Seeing

Originally scheduled for April 25

Some people have a distinct problem with communion. It’s not that they don’t “understand” what’s going on. The ceremony itself is quite simple, and the explanation of the elements of communion well known. His body is represented by the bread; his blood, by the cup. It’s a simple formula and easily memorized. But most human beings like to go beyond the simple so that they really understand what’s going on behind the scenes. Two of the solutions that people reach in this quest are these.

·         Some say it’s “just a ritual.” Follow the directions, it’s what God wants you to do. There is no understanding it, just do it. This tends to leave people — particularly Americans — much less satisfied than they would like to be.

·         Others see it as some dark and mysterious proceeding which can only be understood by the truly mature and serious Christians. The main question they have is, “why did God inflict this deep dark secret ritual upon us ordinary people?”

Maybe the problem is not that God didn’t get this memorial right. Maybe it’s a case of us poor human beings looking at the problem wrong.

By way of example, think back to the last time you went to the doctor’s office. If he wanted to examine your heart, he reached into the freezer to find one of those stethoscopes that are numbingly cold. He applied it to the most sensitive spot on your skin so that he could hear your heart skip a few beats, and then returned to normal. To get the right diagnosis, he had to use the right instrument. If he wants to examine your ears, he uses that little flashlight with the disposable cones on the end. For those occasions where he wants to look at your bones, there is an x-ray machine. Using the right instrument to observe gets the right observation. So what instrument must we use to understand communion?

It’s the same instrument we use to understand God correctly: a pure heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

(Matthew 5:8 NASB)

 

The word translated “pure” in this verse is the Greek word from which we get our word, “catharsis.” It can also be translated, “clean.” So how do we go about getting a clean heart? We might try David’s method. You will recall that when he committed adultery with Bathsheba he went to God to ask forgiveness, as recorded in Psalm 51. Here’s the key verse.

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

(Psalms 51:10 NASB)

 

Perhaps you see it now. By yourself, you are not capable of creating a clean heart within. But do not be discouraged; ask God for that clean heart and he will give it to you willingly.

Take the time to do that now. Then approach the throne of grace with that clean heart and see how much he loves you. He gave his body and his blood so that you might be forgiven; so that you might be redeemed; so that you might be a child of God forever.

 

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