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Communion 2010

No Shoes

Originally scheduled for August 15

Casual dress having taken over much of our lives, we do not see it as often these days: a sign saying, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” It still exists; there are limits to casual attire. If the waiter is wearing a tuxedo, and you’re wearing an Aloha shirt and flip-flops, you’re in the wrong restaurant.

Why do restaurants maintain the “right to refuse service to anyone?” After all, biker bars don’t mandate leather jackets – but upscale places often mandate coat and tie. It’s said to maintain the atmosphere of the place. But do you not see that it’s the “high class” restaurant with the restrictions; a burger joint is not nearly so fussy. It should be no surprise, then, that the most sacred of meals, Communion, has its requirements as well.

To join in Communion you must first be a real Christian. If there are any here who are not Christians, please refrain. This is a symbolic meal for believers only. Indeed, so seriously is this requirement maintained that many churches require that those who partake be members of that local church. It is a way of making sure that fools don’t rush in.

Added to that is the requirement for self-examination. Communion is not to be taken mindlessly. Rather, it should be taken in full contemplation of the soul, honoring the sacrifice which made it possible – and the sin which made it necessary. Our sin.

Do we take it in a worthy manner? Or are we like the lady who came to the opera in hair curlers – justifying it by saying she had somewhere to go afterwards? Some of us just mumble a prayer of no real repentance. Others cheerily go on telling the Almighty what all the others need to repent for. Communion is a time for self-judgment, not Judgmentalism.

The true path is this: begin with your own confession of sins, and repentance. Then ask God for forgiveness of your sins. A word of warning: that will require you to forgive others. Then, with clean heart and clear conscience, eat the meal which symbolizes your forgiveness – and the price Christ paid for it.

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