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Communion Meditations (2023)


Just A Ritual

Originally scheduled for February 12

A common difficulty in the church today is that communion is considered “just a ritual.” If the biggest concern of those involved is the speed with which they can finish the task, you’re probably doing it the wrong way. Likewise if the details of the ritual are more important than anything else — adult males only, wearing a tie — you probably have the wrong focus. If you look at it is just a memorial, with no real effect on your life, you are missing the meaning of communion.
This is not a new problem. Paul had this difficulty with the Corinthian church:
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 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. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-32 NASB)
You can see the result. You “drinks judgment to yourself.” It’s a self-inflicted wound. On the other hand, if you do it rightly (dare we say, take it seriously) you avoid judgment. How do you do that?
You exercise self-judgment. This is why you were told to examine yourself during communion, so that you will judge yourself and take corrective action. Corrective action also goes by the name of “repentance.” If you don’t do this, you face the judgment of God — and His discipline. Don’t be afraid of that; discipline in this context means something akin to saying someone is a “disciplined athlete.” The athlete doesn’t fear the discipline, but embraces it.
So what should we do?
·        We begin by “discerning the body.” In this context it’s important to remember the difference between what a thing is and what it is made of. Communion is made of bread and wine/grape juice. Communion is the body and blood of Christ. That’s a big difference.
·        Next, we judge ourselves. This is that self-examination which is so frequently mentioned in communion meditations. But self-examination alone is not sufficient; you must commit to repentance and then follow through.
·        Finally, accept God’s forgiveness for your sins. He gave us the atonement so that we might have such forgiveness. Communion symbolizes that for us. 

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