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Communion Meditations (2006)


Originally delivered April 9 (Palm Sunday)

Within the millions of patents issued by the US Patent office, it is still unlikely that anyone has patented a ramjet powered, hydraulically operated, computer controlled communion dispenser.  It is unlikely that anyone ever will; and even less likely that anyone would build it, let alone buy it.  Even in the largest of churches, communion is given by hand.

Hands; human hands are the tools which bring the Bread of Life to the Christian. 

· Some of those hands are worker’s hands—rough, callused in places of wear, belonging to men whose lives and livelihoods are a matter of touch.  Reality is something you must be able to touch, even if it is only in symbols.  The hands that fix the pipes, build the houses or drive the trucks are fit to bring the real Christ to His people.

· Some of those hands are thinker’s hands—hands with little wear and tear, but minds which were built by God to comprehend what is meant in the Lord’s Supper.  Deep are the depths of the human mind; no match for the infinite deeps of the mind of God.  They cannot know everything, but what they can know, they must know.  These hands, too, know sacred things when they touch them.

· Some, alas, are careless hands—hands belonging to those who appear to be pious enough, but harbor within their hearts a callous not found on their hands.  Would that it was on their hands!  We cannot know these immediately; but by their fruits, in time, they shall be revealed.

Hands, human hands; four fingers and an opposable thumb.  The same hands that work in the factory, store or office are allowed to handle the most sacred of things:  the body and blood of Christ.  For does He not say, “This is My body; this is My blood?”  Hands and holiness seem completely linked:

· With hands we consecrate those whose lives are a service to our Lord.  By the laying on of hands we confirm, our spirits with the Holy Spirit, that the one so consecrated goes forth with our blessing—and accountability.

· With hands we bless, whether it is a blessing of infants held in our hands, a bag of groceries carried by hand or merely the hand of welcome—our hands do the work.

· With lifted hands we praise the Lord, whatever the tempo of the song.  We are to “lift up holy hands to Him.”

There is more.  At the Last Supper, holy hands broke the bread, calling it His body.  We know that.  But do we remember the greatest use of hands—as a witness.  For Christ, appearing to Thomas, invited him to put his fingers in the holes where the nails had held Him to the Cross.  So when you look down at your hands as you partake in Communion, remember the hands pierced and nailed to the cruel cross—nailed, for you, and for me.

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