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Communion Meditations (2006)

Skyscraper Fish

Originally delivered August 13

My nephew is a lad of unbounded energy and cheerfulness, who is especially fond of sharing what he knows with enthusiasm.  Lots of enthusiasm.

We were meeting the rest of the family at a local restaurant.  As I walked in my nephew, about three years old at the time, grabbed me by the hand to show me something.  He took me over to the koi pond (koi are a kind of carp, raised for their colorful decoration—quite a common sight on the west coast).  Pointing to the koi, he proudly proclaimed, “Look, Uncle John—skyscraper fish!”  His father explained to me that things were small, medium, large and skyscraper in his vocabulary.

Size is often a matter of perception.  It first begins with your own size.  What was an ordinary fish to me was huge to a boy less than three feet tall.  We tend to measure the rest of the world with our own tape measures, a habit that sometimes deceives us.  If we see ourselves as wonderful Christians, far above the norm, it’s difficult to see the spiritual size of Jesus Christ.

Size is also a matter of experience.  If you have suffered through the long, lingering death of someone you love, the tragedy is greater when you have the responsibility for care.  When my grandfather died, it meant little to me.  My mother took it very hard.  When my mother died, I understood why.  Death had not shrunk; I had grown.

Size is also a matter of your view of the world.  A small child’s view is heavily populated with adult knees.  Knees are important; altitude is hard to gain.  As you become an adult, you develop a view of the world in spiritual terms.  You may be bitter or sugar sweet; either way, it affects the size of things spiritual.

But you can change your size, and most of us do.  In spiritual terms, you grow—often as simply as greater knowledge of what the Lord requires of you.  But the real growth comes in charity—what will you sacrifice for others?

Your experience changes your view, also.  In particular, the experience of being forgiven is one of the great changes—when you realize there is no way to justify yourself.  If you take the lesson to heart, you will soon become quick to forgive, too.

As you take communion this day, measure your size against that of Jesus, the Christ.  The more you walk with Him, the greater your size.  If you seek Him in knowledge, and find him in charity, you will grow.  If you will accept his forgiveness, using it as a model for your forgiving, you become great in Christ.  All this He desires, for He wants you to be like Him.

So when you take the cup and the bread, remember:  the one whose  size you seek to be, whose knowledge and charity are examples to you, whose forgiveness inspires your own, did not simply tell us to do so.  He asks us to remember that He has already set the example—at the Cross.  If you would be a “skyscraper Christian,” then follow His example.  There is plenty of room to grow.

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