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Communion 2011

Statistics

Originally scheduled for August 7

The exact mathematics are somewhat in doubt, but the conclusion is not: statistically speaking, some of the crowd gathered around the cross of Christ on Good Friday were to become members of the First Christian Church of Jerusalem a few weeks later. We know this happened because Peter, in preaching his first sermon, tells the crowd, "you crucified…".

We hear it often, so perhaps it loses its astonishing character, but Christ forgave those who crucified him. The first martyr, Stephen, did likewise. And note, please, how this was done. It was not in the form of a command, or of a benevolent permission to be forgiven — it was a begging in humility to God the Father. It's not just that Christ forgave; it's that he begged the Almighty to do likewise.

Have you considered just what love Christ has for the church? It is not just in the sacrifice he made for our sins. That alone would be sufficient proof of love beyond any human nature. It is the perfection of his love that he also asked that those who crucified him be forgiven. Many of us, if we had to be crucified, would take it in a "macho" manner. We would threaten, and if we knew that seven weeks later the church would be born how many of us could resist the temptation to say to the crowd, "you'll be sorry?" By his great love for the church, Christ did no such thing. We know that that great love continues today, for as Paul asked the Romans, "what shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

Communion is the memorial of that great love. Married men will tell you: you should tell your wife that you love her, and you should do so often. Just because you told her once and you haven't changed your mind sense doesn't mean that she has no need to hear of it. It is a characteristic of the human nature: we need to be reminded that we are loved. This ceremony reminds us of the great love of Christ, shown at the cross, and living still.

In a very real sense we to proclaim our love in this ceremony. We remember his sacrifice; we remember his great love for us and in so doing we tell the world that we love our Lord, our Savior.

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