Photographs
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Communion 2011

Photographs

Originally scheduled for December 11

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.

·        It begins with self examination. Do not take this lightly; God is completely serious about that.

·        The 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 you must.

·        Then, 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 thanks.

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