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Communion Meditations (2022)



Originally scheduled for February 20

Matthew 26:10

The story is an old and familiar one. During the week before the crucifixion a woman comes to Jesus while he is eating and anoints his head with expensive perfume. The disciples object; the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

The disciples were obviously surprised that Jesus’ response. It comes in the form of a question: “Why do you bother the woman?” It is as if to say that it is none of the disciples business to pass judgment on the woman. Please note these two things:

·         Jesus alone defends the woman. Only he sees the virtue and what she has done. It’s a lesson to us; our Lord sees things somewhat differently than we do. He often values that which is absurd to us.

·         He calls this act “a beautiful thing” in one translation. The point is not financial but artistic. It’s important to God, the creator.

What the woman has done is to perform an act of devotion. It is difficult for us to understand such things, but they are fairly easily to recognize:

·         They are always costly to the one who is giving them — remember the widow’s mite? Even though it was no great value to most people, it was expensive to her.

·         The world’s view such an act as either extravagant, or useless. This is an example of an extravagant act of devotion; the widow’s mite is an example of a useless act of devotion. Either way, the world is astonished that anyone would do such a thing like that. But notice that extravagance is one of the characteristics common to lovers. Flower shops exist for a reason.

·         The motive for an act of devotion is always the same: love. It’s not a reasonable thing; it’s a loving thing.

Communion celebrates the greatest example of an act of devotion. You can see this clearly if you think about what it means.

·         Costly? Is there anything more costly to a human being than losing your life? Christ did this willingly for us.

·         The world saw it as a useless gesture; a man who went willingly to his own lynching. It is extravagant, but hardly useless. In the cross we find our salvation.

·         The motive, as always, is love. There is a reason that John 3:16 is the most quoted verse of the Bible.

As you partake this morning, set the example of Christ before you and ask how your love for him compares with his love for you. Examine yourself, and then take the body and blood of Christ in remembrance of his sacrifice.

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