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Communion Meditations (2023)



Originally scheduled for November 26

Suppose, for the moment, that you are a chemist. Sitting in your lab doing what chemists do, a friend comes and announces to you that he has been trained to be a professional juggler. Reaching onto the shelves, he picks up three jars of yellow liquid, and utters the two most dangerous words in the English language: “watch this.” Just before he tosses the first jar up into the air, you manage to croak one word: “nitroglycerin.” It’s amazing how fast an attitude can change, isn’t it?
Juggling nitroglycerin should be done with a sense of awe and a great deal of caution. So how does one approach a task with awe?
·        Recognize the danger. Just because you’re foolhardy enough to try it doesn’t mean it won’t explode.
·        Respect the rules. If a task is awesome, there will be rules.
·        Know what you’re doing. And if you don’t, don’t do it. Read the manual, for example.
·        Don’t start without instruction.
The spiritual equivalent of “awe“is the word “sacred.” If something is sacred, we should have a sense of awe concerning it. Surprisingly, many people treat communion as if it is not sacred — but it is.
·        It was given to us by Christ by way of example.
·        It is commanded to us by the apostles, and we know (Acts 1:2) that the apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The rules concerning communion vary by denomination, particularly if you believe in transubstantiation. But that is a topic of very great length for which we have no time this morning.
Why do I compare it with juggling nitroglycerin? Hear the words of the apostle Paul:
For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
(1 Corinthians 11:29-30 NASB)

So what are the instructions?
·        We are to take communion together. It’s not a drive-through window.
·        When we do, we proclaim the death of our Lord. This, by implication, also proclaims that resurrection and the atonement.
·        This is to be preceded by our examining ourselves, so that we might repent, receive forgiveness and partake in a worthy manner.
You are invited to the Lord’s table, a sacred place, a sacred event. Conduct yourself accordingly.

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