Originally scheduled for August 4
It comes as a modest surprise to first-time
customers. There is a restaurant in our neighborhood, near a local
hospital, which is decorated profusely with teddy bears. There are
big ones and little ones; bears in wild colors and bears in discreet
brown; on the backs of the booths or hanging from the ceiling from a
trapeze. Teddy bears — everywhere.
The teddy bear itself dates back to 1902. On a
hunting trip, former President Teddy Roosevelt declined to shoot a
bear which had been trapped. The incident became the subject of a
political cartoon, which was greatly repeated — the bear becoming
smaller and cuter in each repetition. Eventually a couple toymakers
got the bright idea to turn this cute little bear into a physical
object, and the teddy bear was born.
It is perhaps not quite a coincidence that the
restaurant in question is near a hospital. One of the reasons that
people like teddy bears has to do with the human need for love.
Teddy bears are warm and fuzzy, and they are always good for a hug.
More than that, no one has ever been condemned or judged by his
teddy bear. Teddy bears are made of fur, fluff and love — and those
who visit hospital patients, perhaps more than the rest of us, are
always in need of love.
Human beings are always in need of love,
especially the kind you get from a teddy bear. That love is
unconditional, and unconditional love is hard to come by. The
greatest example of unconditional love the world has ever seen was
shown at the cross. There is no greater love than to lay down your
life for your friends, and that is exactly what our Lord and Savior
did. The Scripture puts it this way:
"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but
that the world might be saved through Him.
(John 3:17 NASB)
Communion is the physical sign of that great
love. It is the love that does not judge or condemn us, but the love
saves us. The cup is the symbol of his blood shed for us; we know
from the Old Testament that the shedding of blood is necessary for
the forgiveness of sin. The bread is the symbol of his body given
for us — that we might be nourished spiritually. For those who
believe, there is no condemnation in Christ.
Teddy bears are made of fur and fluff – but
there is a difference between what something is, and what it is made
of. Communion is not
just a pair of ingredients – it is the reminder of our Savior’s
unconditional love for all those who believe in Him.