Originally scheduled for April 17
It is a
familiar sight: a parade of football fans going into the stadium.
Particularly if the game is between two professional teams, you will
see many of the fans dressed to show off their loyalty to the team.
You might have a jersey of your favorite player, or a jacket with
the team logo and colors. It’s an example of the fact that when
human beings have something they really want to say, they often do
so with symbols.
vary with the communication. A wedding ring is a symbol; so is a
national flag and in this instance team clothing. Symbols also take
a different form when they are combined with a ritual. You might not
think this applies to football, but tell me: when the cheerleaders
come out with the pom-poms and lead the crowd in the cheer, isn’t
that a ritual? Participating in that ritual marks you as a supporter
of the team.
process is known as identification. By doing these things I label
myself as a member of the group, the person who supports the team.
In so doing, I tell the world that it is something which is
important to me. The world around me recognizes this; for example,
they would not be at all surprised if I spoke up to defend the
team’s performance. My use of symbol and ritual tells the world I am
willing to do so — and they expect it.
Communion is a form of identification. It has the attributes of just
such a process.
It has its
own set of symbols — the bread and the cup. The bread represents the
body of Christ; the cup, his blood. For that reason, these symbols
are treated with reverence and respect.
is definitely a ritual as well. It is a ritual meal. All of those
who identify with Christ partake of it. Indeed, the association
between us is so tight that we often take it in unison.
definitely a form of identification. First, we identify with Christ
Himself; then we identify also with his church. To take communion is
to say, in the clearest form possible, that you belong to Christ and
specifically, you do not just proclaim some vague association with
the church. You proclaim the Lord’s death. That has two aspects:
proclaim his death until he returns — and thus you proclaim the fact
that he will return to judge the living and the dead.
proclaim the atonement by Christ — and the fact that you have
accepted his sacrifice on your behalf for your sins. It says in the
clearest way that you are a sinner (so is everyone else) who has
accepted the forgiveness of God through Christ.
then, examine your self to see that you are partaking in a solemn
and worthy manner fitting to the message you proclaim. Partake; and
then go out as Christ’s ambassador to the world. Match your actions
during the week with your message on Sunday morning.