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Communion Meditations (2012)

A Gentleman's Word

Originally scheduled for August 19

Some of you will find this surprising. A writer was once gathering information for a book on the American banking system. He interviewed the president of a bank in a community which was primarily Amish. He asked this man what his default rate was; that is to say, what percentage of his loans were never paid back. He replied simply, "none."

The writer was absolutely astonished. It was incredible to him the bank could have that record; so he asked him a second time, "do you mean to tell me you've never had a problem with a loan?" The banker thought for a minute and replied: "Well, my father did once. But he went out and talked to the boy's father and they straightened it out."

Those of an older generation will remember being instructed with the phrase: "Your word is your bond." My father made it clear to me that I was expected to keep my word in all circumstances at all times. If I failed to do so, he would consider it a disgrace to the family as well as to me. He encouraged me to come to him for help if I needed it to keep my word. There it is; your word is your bond and your family backs you up.

May I ask you to consider God's promises in the same light? In particular, he has made four promises of supreme importance:

·         He promised to send his son to us (Psalm 2:7). He fulfilled this when Christ was born.

·         He promised that our Messiah would bear our sins, which we cannot bear ourselves (Isaiah 53:11). He did this at the Cross, our atonement.

·         He promised that Christ would rise from the grave untouched (Psalm 16:9-10). This was fulfilled that that first Easter morning, at the empty tomb.

·         He has promised that he will swallow up death in victory (Isaiah 25:8) — and this will be fulfilled when Christ returns and all of us rise from the dead.

The word of God is trustworthy. Indeed, when God takes a solemn oath he swears by himself for there is no one higher. The first three of these promises have already been fulfilled and we have his word that the fourth one is coming (soon, please Lord, soon). When we partake of Communion we are to remember that he sent his son to us, to bear our sins on the Cross, and that he rose from the grave. But we are also to remember that he is coming again to judge the living and the dead. It is therefore fitting that we should examine ourselves as we partake, repenting of those things we find repugnant. We do this in memory of him; we also do it in anticipation of his return.

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