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Communion Meditations (2014)

January

Originally scheduled for January 12

The names of our months, like those of the days of the week, are sometimes named after ancient gods.  Wednesday, for example, was named for the Norse god Wotan; Thursday was named for Thor.  March was named for Mars, the Roman god of war. January is named for Janus, the Roman god of transitions, doorways and gates.  He is traditionally represented by a figure of two heads, looking in opposite directions.  One head was held to look backwards, the other forwards.

It’s a useful ability to be able to simultaneously learn from where you have been and still look forward to the future.  Contemplating the future sometimes comes with anxiety; knowing where you’ve been and how you managed to get there can help with that.  Looking at the past sometimes produces a feeling of hopeless regret;  the future may solve that.  You may get a chance to fix some of the problems of the past.

Communion also looks both ways:

(1 Cor 11:26 NIV) For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Backwards

Communion looks back to the death of Christ.  By taking communion, you are accepting to yourself his death as the atonement for your sins.  You are saying, in unmistakable symbols and ritual, that Christ died for you, your sins are therefore forgiven – and you are now a child of God.  You are not saying that you are perfect (let a man examine himself) but that you are forgiven.

You are also proclaiming his death.  This tells us two things:  first, it is Christ’s accomplishment, not our own.  We are saved by grace, not cooperation.  Second, you proclaim it – you announce it to the world. If someone asks you why you do it, you should be able to explain it.  If they don’t, you should tell them anyway.  It’s called evangelism.

Forward

You do this “until he comes.”  That implies you believe in the return of Christ, as he prophesied.  He is coming back, and that has at least two major implications:

·         First, there will be a time of judgment.  Justice is coming, both as punishment and as reward for those who have done what is right.

·         Second, in some way not understood, there will be a new heaven and earth.  The curse of sin will be lifted; death will cease and a new order of things will come.

In short, we know the ending of the story – God wins.  And we believe it!

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