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Communion Meditations (2022)



Originally scheduled for July 31

As any married man can tell you, diamonds are expensive. For such a small stone we pay quite a lot. To the mineralogist the diamond is distinctive because it’s extremely hard. To the rest of us, it is distinctive because of the way it deals with light. Turn the diamond just a bit in the light reflecting through it changes. What a diamond looks like depends on what view you take of it; a different angle produces a different view.
In a way, communion can be thought of as a diamond being twisted in the light and examined from all sides. It produces a different display for each of these. Here are four ways to look at communion.
Obedience, as a topic, is not preached as much as it used to be. But it has lost none of its importance. The simple fact is that Christ commanded us to partake of communion. It is the only repetitive ceremony Christ ever prescribed for his disciples.
Let’s look at that word “disciple.” It’s related to the word discipline, which we may take in the sense of being a disciplined athlete. The pole vaulter, for example, must practice his leap over and over to get it exactly right. Pole vaulting has laws — physics and otherwise — which must be obeyed to be successful. So too with the Christian. This is one of the rules; obey it.
Obedience is a skill that must be practiced to be useful. But in the end it comes down to one thing: this is the Lord’s Supper. If you are his disciple, you will do as he commands.
Communion is intended to be a perpetual memory. It was given to the apostles, the founders of the church. It has been passed on from generation to generation until our day. It was not intended to be a temporary thing.
So what is it that we are to remember?
            First, we should remember who gave it to us. Our Lord himself considered it important that on his last night before crucifixion he implemented this memorial meal. He is the “who” that we should remember.
            The “what” that we should remember is given to us in the elements of communion. The bread represents his body, hung on a cross for the sins of the world. The cup represents his blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins. Remember the price he paid for your salvation.
It may seem a trivial point, but Christ in initiating this meal gave thanks both with the bread and the cup, separately. Often in his life he set an example for the rest of us, as at his baptism. It is entirely appropriate we give thanks at communion, considering what he has done for us. Indeed, the church word “Eucharist” is a transliteration from the Greek which means “Thanksgiving.”
We seldom give thanks for our miseries and pains, but were usually pretty good about giving thanks for our blessings and gifts. So it is entirely appropriate that we give thanks for the gift of salvation, grace. The word “grace” stems from a Greek word which means “gift.” Let us give thanks for the free gift of God, blessing even the worst of us with forgiveness of sin and salvation. We are all sinners; we can at least be grateful ones.
The root word for communion in the Greek, “koininoa”, is also translated in other passages as “fellowship”. There are two senses in which we should see this:
            First, we should experience fellowship with our church. One of the best ways to enhance fellowship is to share a meal — hence the constant popularity of potluck dinners. In communion we share a symbolic meal, full of intense meaning rather than calories. This builds the church together. The church should be one, as God and Christ are one.
            The church and its members are being built up together. This implies they are built together on one foundation: Jesus Christ. We not only fellowship with each other we also fellowship with him. He tells us that wherever two or more are present in his name, there he is also. Above all others, he should be welcome. We should fellowship with him during communion in prayer and meditation.
Consider his commands; remember his sacrifice; give thanks for his grace and join with the church and fellowship with him. May the Holy Spirit grant you the peace that comes from truly knowing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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