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Communion Meditations (2006)

Before and After

Originally delivered May 7

In some mega-churches you can sense the change in worship.  We’ve gone from our grandparent’s hymns of faith (and the King James Bible) to modern music (and Bible paraphrases).  It is all so upbeat and cool.  Everything is light-hearted and happy.  Until, of course, the time rolls around for Communion.  It’s then we miss the solemn nature of grandfather’s church.  Then we notice how Communion now seems to be an interruption of the cool and upbeat.

Why are we in such a hurry to get through Communion?

· The preacher has a lot to say and time is short.  Perhaps the preacher should be advised to stick to the timetable—to make time for God’s message of forgiveness.

· The organ music in Communion sounds like a funeral.  Well it should.  It brings to mind the death of Christ, His sacrifice of atonement. 

· We’ve got to hurry through it, otherwise the Presbyterians will get to the restaurant first.  You would deny the Christian the bread and wine of life to fatten yourself faster?

Why is this so irritating?  It’s because the heart and mind do not have time to switch between the upbeat cool to the solemn.  We may ask, then, what a Christian should be doing before he takes Communion:

· To take Communion is to open the door through which Jesus will come and dine with us.  We should therefore prepare a suitable place for him, and that place is the human heart.  Remove the distractions of this world; clean the sin and invite Him in.

· We should welcome Him with a quiet soul, not contorted by the world.  His words do not come by the speaker system, but by the still, small voice.

· Having done this, we should receive the Lord’s Supper with reverence.  This is a solemn occasion, in which one handles holy things.  We should do this with a fitting attitude.

If the time to prepare is too short, the time to reflect is also.  When a Christian leaves the Lord’s Supper, his mind has been renewed—or should be.  Perhaps we might look at what is cut off by ending the Lord’s Supper so abruptly:

· Can you take the Lord’s Supper and not confess your sins?  We should go from Communion ever ready to confess our sins, which he is faithful and just to forgive.

· Having received the pure forgiveness of God, how can we refuse to give the fallen forgiveness of man? 

· We should go carrying more than forgiveness—reconciliation.  We should walk out with the intent of reconciling with those who need to be reconciled to us—and those who need to be reconciled to God.

Enter with reverence; receive God’s own Son; go out to share what you have been given.

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