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Communion Meditations (2022)


Dividing Line

Originally scheduled for October 2

At first glance, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House doesn’t look particularly out of the ordinary. It is a granite and brick, late Victorian edifice. The first floor holds the library in the second floor the opera. What makes it unusual is that the building sits on the dividing line between Vermont and Québec. It was built deliberately on the dividing line in 1901 with Mrs. Haskell’s money. Inside the building there is a black, electrical tape line showing the boundary. The library put it there because there was a dispute over which insurance company (Canadian or American) was responsible for damages due to a small fire. The library is somewhat of a tourist attraction, but the locals use it too. Inside the library, the dividing line has no great significance, though the rest of the town seems to have grown border patrol and mounted police patrols over the last few years. It is a rare example of the dividing line which is more an oddity than anything else.
Generally speaking, dividing lines range from simple to extreme cases — look at the one between North and South Korea. But the human tendency is to avoid dealing with them. Dividing lines, by their very nature, oblige us to make a decision. Decisions have consequences, and often those consequences are not foreseen by the person at the dividing line. So we have a tendency to put off making those decisions when we reach a dividing line — if we can.
It will not surprise you that Communion is such a dividing line. It’s not a geographic line, rather, it’s a decision. Taking communion proclaims that you have made such a decision. It is a stand up and announce moment. And just what is it that you are announcing when you take communion?
            You announce that you believe in the death of Christ. You believe that he died on the cross, deliberately executed by the authorities of his day. A logical consequence of this is that you also believe in the resurrection.
            Communion announces that you believe in the atonement. You believe that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid the price for your sins and opened the doors of heaven for you.
            Communion also announces that you believe in the imminent return of Christ, the Second Coming, when he will return to judge the living and the dead. That also proclaims that you believe in the bodily resurrection, yours included.
            In short, taking communion tells the world which side you’re on.
 So, as you partake of the bread, the representation of Christ’s body; and the cup, the representation of Christ’s blood; know that you are making the decision and proclaiming it to the world: you believe. You are one of the faithful. As you do, examine yourself to make sure this is truly what you want to say.  

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