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Communion 2010

Identification

Originally scheduled for October 17

It is a familiar sight in the fall. Hordes of fans, each dressed in the school colors, stream into the stadium. The more extreme fans where the school colors on their faces, like war paint. Television cameras seek out the most extreme paint jobs for display of what it's like to go a football game on afternoon in the fall.

One thing the sure: is the true fan who wears the colors. Football being what it is, sometimes those colors look a little strange on various people. But fans wear them because they know this identifies them as being a fan of their particular team. Color matters. In this simple way the fan identifies with his team.

A similar phenomenon happens in Christianity. It is not simply a matter of proclaiming that you were Christian, rather it is you proclaiming that you understand what Christ did for you. That's communion. It is a way of saying not only that you are a Christian, but you reflect on and appreciate the suffering of Christ at the Cross. Indeed, in taking communion you proclaim your willingness to suffer with Christ. Modern American Christians don't think very much about suffering for their faith. It seems almost incomprehensible to them that any form of pain or even embarrassment could possibly come their way just for being a Christian. But each time you take communion, you proclaim your willingness to suffer along with your Lord. You are showing your colors, as it were.

Real fans will tell you: the colors don't make the fan. Just because you have the purple sweater doesn't mean you're a real fan. Real fans have entire rooms in their houses decorated in their team colors. (This can be a decorator's nightmare.) Real Christians tell you the same thing about those who take communion. If you genuinely believe, if you are genuinely willing to suffer for Christ, if you are genuinely walking the talk, then you are a genuine Christian. If you are genuine Christian, communion is deeply meaningful. If you're a fraud, it is an empty ritual. So perhaps you can measure your faith by what communion means to you: is it your identification with your Lord Jesus Christ, or is it something to be gotten out of the way each week? It's hard to tell from the outside, but you know. So does Jesus.

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