Originally scheduled for
The image we have of
the various wars in which America has fought usually is represented
by a photograph. No war is more eloquently documented than the
American Civil War. This is largely the result of the efforts of one
man: Matthew Brady. If you can think back to your high school
history course and remember some of those photos, there is a style
to them. That style is rather formal, does not at all look like
candid photographs we would take today, but instead resembles some
formal gathering. There's a reason for that; all those pictures were
carefully staged. It took several seconds for the photograph slide
to get enough light to make a good picture. So, everyone had to stay
still for a few seconds. That's why action photos are so rare in the
Civil War. If you think about it, the American Civil War looks
rather stuffy. It's the formality of the pictures.
Formality tends to imply a
certain seriousness. You find it in church as well; even little
children know that something important is going on when everyone
suddenly gets very formal. Formality implies seriousness. Formality
also implies importance. We don't waste formality on things that are
trivial. More than this, formality implies that there is a certain
"right way" to do something. No doubt the people in charge of this
at your church have selected such a right way; they probably follow
it rather carefully.
So there is a right way for
those who serve communion to do their job. There is also a right way
for those who receive communion from them.
begins with self examination. Do not take this lightly; God is
completely serious about that.
right way continues with repentance. You find some fault, fix it.
You may have to be content with promising to fix it now, but fix it
please, give thanks to the Lord who is gracious and forgiving to
you. It was a great price he bought this privilege for you.
The result of doing it the right way leaves a significant
impression. It is like a living photograph of your love for Christ.
So as you partake this morning consider all that he has done for
you. Examine yourself, start the appropriate repentance and give