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Communion Meditations (2022)


Ghost Story

Originally scheduled for August 14

Dorothy L. Sayers was one of the better mystery writers of the 20th century. In one of her articles on Christianity she gave some advice to beginning writers concerning those types of stories which are both a ghost story and a detective story. If you’re going to have a ghost as part of your story, you need to introduce the ghost very early in the book. You don’t have to explain the ghost; indeed, it might be best to just leave it as a mystic appearance. Cue the spooky music, have the ghost appear and then leave, not returning until chapter 29. It’s a matter of good writing style, the right way to tell a story.
Cue the spooky music again, and enter Melchizedek. It is his one and only personal appearance in the Old Testament, detailed starting at Genesis 14:18. What do we know about him?
            First, we know that he is a priest of Most High God. Considering that this is well before the time of Moses and Aaron, it’s quite a distinction.
            He is described as “King of Salem.” The word “Salem” means “peace.” So he could be described as the king of peace, or this may simply refer to his rule over Jerusalem. Commentators differ.
            One thing most commentators agree on is that he is superior to Abram. They deduce this from the fact that Abram tithes to Melchizedek. You can also see it in the fact that Melchizedek blesses Abram, the greater blessing the lesser.
And that’s it. Turn off the spooky music, the man is gone — and does not appear again until the time of King David, when he is mentioned in one of the prophetic Psalms concerning our Lord (Psalm 110:4). It’s not until somebody writes the book of Hebrews that we have it explained that he is a forerunner of Christ, establishing a new order of priesthood that lasts forever.
Please note, however, that Melchizedek does not show up empty-handed. He brings bread and wine to Abram. Perhaps you haven’t thought of it this way, but considered simply as food bread and wine is a good combination. Bread doesn’t last, but is nourishing today. Wine can keep practically forever. It is a symbol that in communion is repeated, that our Lord cares for us today — “our daily bread” — and forever, as symbolized in the wine.
Our Lord is our High Priest. He intercedes for us as well as caring for us. He does this on the basis of his atonement, the sacrifice he made so that God might render grace to us.
As you partake today, remember that his sacrifice was not something that “just happened.” It was planned thousands of years earlier, even to the point of showing us the elements in communion. So, as you take communion today, examine yourself and see if you need to repent. Then partake with a sincere heart and humble mind, knowing that your Lord intercedes on your behalf.

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