Originally scheduled for September 1
Those of sufficient antiquity might remember
taking a course in high school or college on the use of a drafting
board. For those of a younger generation, this is the analog
equivalent of Computer Assisted Design. One actually made marks on
paper with a pencil!
The kit that came with a drafting board
included a number of items; a T-square, a pair of triangles,
something called drafting tape (which held the paper on the board)
but probably most useful of all was the assortment of erasers which
came with it. There were several sizes and types of eraser; a large
gummy one, a short hard one, one that looked like a wheel with a
brush attached and another that resembled nothing more than the
rosin bag used by a baseball pitcher. Each of these had its own
Drafting is a precision art, and therefore you
are also given a piece of aluminum with a number of cutouts, called
an eraser shield. Even fixing your mistakes was to be done
precisely. And one thing was very certain: you were going to make a
lot of mistakes.
It must be admitted that the computer method of
doing this has its advantages. Most computer users are familiar with
the key sequence “control Z.” It means simply, “undo that last
mistake.” It takes less effort than the eraser, and it is more
But we might wish to point out to you that you
can hit control Z more than once. The computer stores a large
sequence of your previous mistakes so that you can undo more than
one in a sequence. Even in the computer age, the computer knows that
you’re going to make multiple mistakes. But there’s one thing both
methods have in common: in both methods you correct as you go. You
don’t wait for a finished product and then go back and fix all the
mistakes; you fix them as you go along.
The idea that you fix your mistakes as you go
along is well known to Christianity. It’s called repentance. Like
the drafting board, like the computer, repentance depends upon your
recognizing a mistake. This goes by the name of “self examination.”
That’s the way you’re supposed to start communion; examine yourself.
Once you’ve done there are two other things required:
The first is to get the eraser out;
be willing to repent.
The second is to do so quite
precisely. A general feeling of repentance does little good;
repenting of the sins you know precisely does a great deal.
Note, too, that Christ prescribes frequent
Communion. This is nothing less than the sense that you should
“correct as you go.” Later is not nearly as good a time to repent as
As you do this, remember who made this
possible. His body, the bread, was hung on a cross for you. His
blood, the cup, was shed so that you might examine yourself and
repent — and be forgiven by God himself.