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Communion Meditations (2013)

After 8 Days

 

Originally scheduled for December 1

Most of us are familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas. You might want to look it up; it is found in John 20:24-29. Pay particular attention to verse twenty-six, please. The story is so familiar that we often skip over the details. Did you notice that Christ did not immediately appear to Thomas? In fact, John tells us that he appeared to him after eight days. So Thomas was left for a period of a week to stew over the fact that his fellow disciples said they had seen the living Christ — and he just wasn’t gonna believe it. I do not believe that this delay is due to Christ having other things on his agenda. I think it’s deliberate. It seems to me that this is an example of God being in no hurry to meet your criteria for his performance.

Many of us would like God to be somewhat like a tame lion. He needs to be a real lion because, after all, we have real problems. But we’d like to have an answer our problems at our command. How often have you thought to yourself, “if only I could see one real miracle…” But think about it: how many people in the Scriptures saw miracle after miracle and maintained their doubt? Seeing a real miracle has, at best, a temporary effect.

More than that, many of us would like to be able to prove the existence of God by going into some scientific laboratory and repeating some particular experiment. It would be very convenient. But do you not see that if this were so than the existence of God would be a part (not a whole) of the universe? And it is impossible that part of the universe could be the creator of all of it. God has deliberately chosen to base his relationship with you not upon scientific proof, but upon good evidence. This is because of the nature of the relationship he wants to have with you: not a relationship of power and oppression, but a relationship of love.

Thus it is that God provides us with powerful evidence of his love. Indeed, he commands us to remember this love at its most powerful, in the sacrifice of his son on the cross. Note that communion calls us to remember the sacrifice, not the resurrection. This is the way of love; sacrifice is greater than performance. So it is that we remember the sacrifice.

Doubting Thomas did eventually receive his evidence, and it restored his relationship with “my Lord and my God.” But the evidence he brings before the Christian every week for his memory concerns not the power of the resurrection but the love shown at the cross. God has chosen to portray to us that which is most important to him: his love for us.

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