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Communion (1995 Series)

Veterans Day

Scheduled for November 9

The writer Irwin S. Cobb tells a story:  It seemed that two Confederate veterans were reminiscing about the days during the war when Paducah was being fought over by the Northern and Southern armies.  “I remember,” one veteran said, “when we pushed those Yankees all the way across the Ohio and up into Illinois!”  The other old soldier regretfully corrected him.  “I was there, old friend,” he said, “and I’m afraid that wasn’t the way it happened at all.  Those Yankees drove us out of Paducah and almost to the Tennessee line.”  The first veteran reflected a bit, then sourly remarked, “Another good story ruined by an eyewitness!”


As long as there are veterans, there will be war stories.  Some of them will be true.  I’ve noticed one thing, however.  Most veterans will have a medal or two.  The stories behind those medals are sometimes a little less often repeated, for often they are painful memories rather than glorious ones.  War stories come by being there when something was happening.  Medals come by sacrifice.


Yet whether we mount them on the wall in a lighted frame or put them in a box in the closet, the veteran keeps his medals.  He needs to remember.  At this time of year in some communities the veteran even parades them so that the community will remember too.


We, as Christians, share a similar memory.  Each week, for two thousand years, we have shared the memory of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  It is a painful memory.  The loaf and the cup are the “medals” which display not our sacrifice but His.  We keep this from becoming a “war story” because we have the written, eyewitness accounts of the time when Christ instituted this memorial. 


Like the medals given to the soldier, this memorial is designed to honor the one who sacrificed for us.  He was the one who “paid it all.”  Therefore we remember.  In that memory we are commanded to examine ourselves.  There are many ways in which we can do that, but if I might stretch the analogy a bit, consider this one:  picture a father with his little children.  They are looking at his medals and asking how he got them.  He tells them the story of the combat and what he did to earn them.  The children go away from this session, imaginations fired, and go out to be a hero just like dad.


When you take the cup and loaf, remember the sacrifice made.  Then, like the little children, resolve to go out and imitate your Father.  Can any greater honor be paid to a veteran father than to have his children say, “I want to be just like him?”

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