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Communion Meditations (2014)

Ending

Originally scheduled for February 9

Human history has been going on now for a fair amount of time – at least by the standards of human lifetime.  We are a blink of time to the geologist, but the average human being thinks we’ve been at it a while.  So while we should know where we’ve been, it also helps if we have an idea where we’re going.  There are three ideas that float around in human heads about “what happens next.”

The first is that history just sort of repeats itself.  It’s a catalog of human failure and misery;  the names and the technologies change but the results are the same.  Life is futile, and the best you can hope for is that you live in one of the less miserable times and places.

That’s depressing.  It’s so depressing that we often encounter the thinker with the “idea whose time has come!”  How he knows that its time has come is usually a little vague, but the enthusiasm – indeed, the dedication to the idea – can be overwhelming.  One thing that often gets overwhelmed in this is the truth.  I once had a devout communist tell me that the reason the Soviets invaded Hungary in 1956 was “the people wanted them to.” 

There are also those who are convinced that everything is going just fine, thank you.  “We’re just a few regulations away from utopia.”  We have at last stumbled upon the right theory, and all we need to do is enforce compliance to provide everyone with true happiness.

The Christian has a different view:  history has an end in sight – the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of that, history is not just a random collection of events, but is providentially provided by God for the purposes of his church.  This, of course, requires a bit of amplification.  We are not just to sit back and watch; in fact, our Lord makes it clear that we have a part to play.

·         At the very least we are called to share in his suffering.  The world reject Christ; it therefore rejects his followers.

·         This, at the least, requires courage, the foundation of all virtue.  Anyone can suffer if restrained sufficiently.  It requires courage to stand for the truth knowing that suffering will result.

·         But it is not just what we withstand that counts, but also what we do as positive acts.  We need an alternate method to the world’s compulsion.  That method is called love.

When we partake of communion, we acknowledge ourselves to be his followers.  We therefore proclaim his death when we do this.  If we proclaim his death, we proclaim his resurrection and our salvation – and invite one and all to join us.  Communion tells the world who you really are – and who He really is

But it also proclaims his return.  We are commanded to do this “until he returns.”  That means we believe in the return of Christ and thus the judgment to come.  This should provoke us, every time we take communion, to ask ourselves if we are ready to hear the trumpet sound.  Examine yourselves, then partake.

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