Originally scheduled for March 24
Many of the people in this audience are too
young to remember — or even have encountered — a jukebox. It was an
impressive looking device; often lit up in garish lights. It allowed
you to press a couple of buttons, after you put your money in, and
thus select a record to play. Records were discs made of vinyl on
which sound was recorded. The mechanical motion of the record itself
was something to behold. It was probably the closest thing we had at
the time to a robot.
One particular version of the jukebox was
designed to sit at the end of the table in, for example, a coffee
shop. It didn’t hold as many records as the others did, but it was
conveniently located and usually had a fair selection. In accordance
with the long-standing rule that any device that makes noise must be
set so loud as to annoy people at the near tables, this device was
quite capable of playing your favorite song for the benefit of those
anonymous people in the next 16 tables.
My parents, being civilized, absolutely forbade
their children to spend any money on that jukebox at the table.
Their reasoning was that the next 16 tables had no desire whatsoever
to hear — repeatedly — “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.”
The technology has changed, of course, but the
principle remains the same: we will pay good money to hear what we
want to hear. That doesn’t just apply to music; it applies to
sermons as well. We like to hear what we like to hear. We want to
hear it when we want to hear it — and particularly we don’t want to
hear it when we don’t want to hear it. In terms of music, we have
made great progress in this — headphones. In terms of preaching,
perhaps not so much.
But preaching is not music. Communion is the
great reminder that we approach God on his terms, not on ours. There
are no buttons to push with God; he does not tell us what we want to
hear but rather tells us what we need to hear. In a very real sense
communion is a message we need to hear.
In communion we celebrate his
sacrifice; we do not celebrate our desires.
Communion reminds us of just who is
in control of this universe — who “calls the tune.”
And what tune does he call? It is his
love call to us — the demonstration of the fact that he has such
great love for each and every one of us, evidenced by his sacrifice
on the cross.
Music has the power to bring forth emotions.
God is so constructed communion that he wants to bring forth a
reaction in you too. He wants you to
remember the sacrifice
that he made. On the basis of that sacrifice, he calls you to
repent of your sins. If
you confess them, he is faithful and just to
restore you to fellowship
with him. It is not a time for you to hand him your laundry list of
things to fix; it is a time for him to reach out to you in love.