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Communion Meditations (2023)

 

Memory

Originally scheduled for December 3

"Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."
(Matthew 26:13 NASB)

 
When you hear the word “souvenir”, you normally think of some little trinket that you purchase to remind yourself of someplace you have been. It is a memorial to a trip that was pleasant. But souvenirs don’t always have to be small and portable. Take, for instance, any of the eight battleships the United States is preserved as memorials to those who served in World War II. The smallest of them is 35,000 tons of steel. This will probably not fit on your shelves. But why do we preserve such large souvenirs?
·        The usual ostensible purpose in this instance is to memorialize those who served in World War II. This is a group that is getting smaller by the day.
·        Many visit this souvenir ship as a way of recalling their time serving in the U.S. Navy, battleship or not.
·        Still others go to remember not what they did in the war, but what their grandfather did.
Whatever the reason, it is one colossal souvenir.
Memorials seem to come in one of two flavors. Either they are some physical object, large or small, or they are some formal ceremony. The physical objects range from small to large; the ceremonies from simple to elaborate.
Humans are designed to be eternal; therefore they need memorials. Curiously enough, in the New Testament there are only two memorials described. One of these is communion, of course. The other is found in Matthew chapter 26, the incident where a woman poured perfume on Jesus’ head. (There is much debate as to whether or not this is the Mary of Mary and Martha. For our purposes, it does not matter.) It is surprising, given the place and time, as women were considered second-class citizens. We may observe these characteristics of her actions.
A Beautiful Thing – there is a sense in which this act of devotion just “fits” – it has that sense of being the right extravagance at the right time.
Timely – the act is just before Jesus’ death. We can see in it that she has done this at precisely the right time
It is all inclusive – she had nothing else so precious, one would think, and so the act was everything she could do.
Insightful – her devotion matched his thought; he was going to the Cross; she was anointing him for burial.
 
 
Communion has these characteristics too. It is in fact a beautiful ceremony, of utter and elegant simplicity. It is almost impossible to clutter it   with artistic renditions that obscure the native beauty of the ceremony.
It is also timely. It is done on a regular basis so that we will not forget the sacrifice of Christ, but keep the atonement foremost in our minds all the time. It also gives us the chance to repent on a regular basis, before sin can get a total grip. Think of it in terms of “3R’s” — Recurring Reminder to Repent.
It is all inclusive. There are two senses for this; it is all you really need if you have the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is also inclusive in that all Christians partake; it’s not just for the super saint.
It is particularly insightful — if you examine yourself as part of communion. Who knows you better than yourself?
 
The bread is his body; the cup holds his blood. Do this in remembrance of the Savior sacrificed himself so that you might live eternally.

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