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.