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Communion Meditations (2013)

Qualified

Originally scheduled for June 23

The very act of taking communion carries with it certain acknowledgments:

·         First, by the act of taking communion you acknowledge that you are a sinner. If you are not a sinner, you are in no need of the atonement. One might also add that if you are not sinner, perhaps you should find another church — this one is full of nothing but.

·         Not only are you a sinner, you have asked the Lord of the universe for his mercy, rather than his justice. The fact that he freely offers that mercy no doubt helps with the motivation; but the plain fact is taking communion means you are asking for God’s mercy.

·         Communion is a public ceremony, performed in a public place. Therefore, by taking communion you acknowledge that you are willing to let anyone else see you acknowledge the fact that you’re a sinner, seeking mercy. In communion we proclaim the Lord’s death — and his atonement. This is not classified information.

Perhaps you’re a bit disturbed by all this. But it’s really quite simple; mercy never precedes justice, but justice always precedes any mercy. Mercy, by its very definition, requires that the recipient be found guilty first. So if you apply for mercy, you are acknowledging your guilt.

It is also the fact that mercy cannot be earned. By its very nature it proclaims that the guilty one cannot right the wrongs that have been done. It is an admission of your inability to deal with your own sins, and you make that admission when you take communion.

Mercy also is at the discretion of the judge. No one is “entitled” to mercy — but in God’s court everyone gets the offer. It is as God said to Moses:

For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION."

(Romans 9:15 NASB)

 

Communion would be quite different if it were a private thing. We are encouraged to confess our sins one to another, and this is usually best done in private. But Christ commanded us that we take communion in public, in community with each other. Symbolically, you do this to remember Christ’s sacrifice and atonement, and these are things the church has proclaimed publicly since its very first days. When you take communion, you are telling the world — by ritual — that you have been given the mercy of God. You are also telling the world that each and every one of them can obtain the same mercy.

Therefore, as you partake this morning do so in a worthy manner. At the very least you should take it seriously because you are proclaiming the greatest truth the world has ever known. Examine yourself in the light of both God’s justice and his mercy; then tell the world what you have received.

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