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Communion Meditations (2014)

Memorial

Originally scheduled for June 1

It is a curious fact that in the there are several mentions of the word “memorial.” In the New Testament, however, there is only one mention.[1] This occurs in the 10th chapter of Acts, and concerns the centurion known as Cornelius. Startled by the angel’s appearance — the usual reaction — he is told that his prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering to God. In the Old Testament memorials tend to be either offerings at the altar of the Lord or collections of stones. They were there to remind the Israelites either of events that happened or the goodness of God. For Cornelius the memorial is a good example of how we should combine the practical with the spiritual.

Let’s take a look at that:

·         The spiritual side is shown in prayer. From the world’s point of view prayer is an exercise in a closet. We know better, of course. But it is something that is largely spiritual. The spiritual, however, should prompt us to the practical.

·         The practical side is shown in his gifts to the poor. As James points out, works without action mean that your faith is meaningless.

In the New Testament there is only one memorial: communion. In and of itself communion is purely a spiritual exercise. But like all spiritual exercises it should prompt us to the practical work of the church. We see in this memorial the character of Christ. It should prompt us to the imitation of Christ.

So I ask you:

·         Does the blood of his sacrifice move you to sacrifice for Him? Are your days marked with the gift to the poor, the helping Hand to the needy?

·         Does his body on the Cross move you to work for Him? Each of us should have a particular task, no matter how humble, and do it well.

·         Do you cover all these things, the practical side, with the spiritual exercise of prayer?

Communion is a reminder of what Jesus has done for you. Perhaps it should also be a reminder of what you need to do for Him.


[1] In the NIV or NASB.

 

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