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Communion Meditations (2012)

To Remember Is To Renew

Originally scheduled for September 23

Have you ever been to your high school reunion? Some of us (this author included) would view the prospect of a high school reunion as an absolute terror. But others look back on our high school days with great fondness, and a reunion is something which refreshes the memories of a very pleasant age. Military veterans know something of the same thing. If your military service was dull and boring (mine was) there is usually no reunion. But if you served in combat the friends you made there are friends for a lifetime. A reunion of your old outfit is an occasion not to be missed.

There are personal reunions too. It’s a common case that, no matter how large the university you went to, you have friends that you want to see for the rest of your life. It may be only once a year, but the opportunity is cherished and you approach it with a smile.

It’s something that is built into human beings. We want to remember the good times, or even the tragic times that bonded us together. But human memory fades; sometimes that’s a good thing. Other times, it causes us to neglect the good times or even the great times of our lives. Humans, however, have a way of dealing with this. We invent rituals so that we might remember the past. They may not be very formal. Often enough at a military reunion the chaplain offers a prayer for those who never returned. It’s customary; it’s a ritual. If you go to your high school reunion, you might sing your school’s alma mater. The truth is that rituals renew our memories.

Communion is a ritual — a ritual that renews our memories each time we participate. This is a ritual which commemorates the most important event in human history: the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Of all events this is the one most worth remembering. Indeed, the Christian knows that it is the most important event in his own personal life. It gives eternal life; therefore, it is much greater than any human event that we could remember in our own lives.

There are three essential steps in this ritual, each of which reminds you of the sacrifice of your Lord on the Cross:

·         First, there is confession.  You came to the Cross because you are a sinner. It’s time to bring out the details.

·         Second, there is repentance. There is no sense at all in telling the Lord that you are a sinner, that this is the particular sin, and that you don’t want to do anything about it.

·         Finally, partake in the elements of the Lord’s Supper. The bread is his body, the cup is his blood; take, eat, remember — and renew.

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