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One of the most striking things about the Temple of Solomon is
the amount of gold that was used to construct it. Depending upon
which system of weights and measures you trust, the amount of gold
could have been several hundred tons. Gold was everywhere in the
Temple; bronze was used only because of its structural strength,
like stone and wood. The wood was always overlaid with gold; the
entire Temple was lined with gold.
The Temple was designed to stress the great distance between man
and God. There were a series of courtyards, each more restrictive
than the last until you reach the Holy of Holies, which could be
entered only by the High Priest and only once a year. But the very
first restriction was this: only the Jews could enter into the
second court. The net effect was a portrayal of God as being
mysterious, distant, and almost an approachable.
May I ask you to compare that with communion today? Think, for a
moment, about the gold. Some churches use communion trays that are
colored in a gold tone, but picking up with gold object that size
would not be something that was easy. Most such trays are made of
aluminum or of wood. The material in your communion trays is seldom
a point of pride and honor. More than that, communion is open to
all. Some denominations restrict communion to those who are members
of the congregation; others open to all believers. The sense that
only one person could possibly talk to God is gone. And is God
mysterious? Hardly: Christ spoke in parables, simple stories, so
that he might be clearly understood.
What has caused this change? The simple answer is that God has
come in the flesh; he is no longer distant. This was symbolized at
the crucifixion by the fact that the veil concealing the Holy of
Holies was torn from top to bottom. God no longer hides behind that
veil, but seeks one and all asking that they come to him.
In commanding communion to be kept, Christ has given us a simple
ritual, which may be performed with common and simple things. He did
not tell us to use gold trays; nor did he tell us the bread had to
be baked at a bakery in Jerusalem. He used ordinary things because
he is the God of ordinary things; indeed, all things. His style is
one that says, "I welcome all, even the poorest of the poor." He
welcomes all, even the most sinful. So consider well today as you
take communion just how your Lord used the simple things to remind
you of his sacrifice. His style is one that welcomes all, rich or
poor, Saint or sinner.