Originally scheduled for January 5
“Whoever romanticized the first footfall on new
fallen snow never had to make it at 5 AM on the morning after
Christmas on his way to work.” — Bob O’Connell.
There is a certain reality to the day after
Christmas. It marks the transition away from the holidays and back
to the ordinary, workaday world. Of course, on your way out the door
to work you have to step over toys, Christmas wrapping, assorted
empty boxes and other paraphernalia. It reminds you that when you
get home from work tonight there is still a lot of cleanup to be
done. But December 26 announces to you that the routine has
One of the difficulties with communion is that
it, too, is routine. There are differences between the various
denominations on how often communion is to be served, but it is a
routine thing. Some churches serve it every day; some every week;
some every month and a few serve it once a year. But please note
this: we do it the same way every time. It is routine. To the best
of my knowledge no one has ever tried to liven it up with flamenco
Perhaps more to the point, we think that doing
it in a routine way is important — and it is.. If there is a right
way to do something it makes no sense to try a wrong way just for
the variety of things. We think we have the right ceremony, and we
use it. Have you ever asked yourself why?
Perhaps the answer is found in the fact that
men need not so much to be taught as reminded. Think of it this way:
when you were teaching your young children good manners, did it
involve a lot of repetition? Of course; it took you years to
inculcate your children good manners. You reminded them over and
over again how they should behave.
Communion is repeated over and over again to
remind you. Its purpose is to proclaim the death of Christ, and the
salvation which resulted from it. It is there to remind you, every
time you take it, of these things:
The sacrifice which Christ made for
you; the agony of the cross. We often value things by the price
which was paid for them, and this was the greatest price possible.
The salvation which that sacrifice
brought. We are sinners; there must be an atonement for sin — and
there is only one atonement that works.
It also reminds us of his motive for
doing it: his great love for the world. It is the very nature of God
that he is love, and this is the greatest reminder of that love.