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Communion Meditations (2014)

The Nature of God

Originally scheduled for October 19

Suppose, for a moment, that you were asked to provide evidence for the nature of God as he has been revealed to you. You would quickly find that the evidence breaks down into two types:

·         There is a general revelation composed of those things you can see in detail in the universe at large. A walk in the desert on a cold and starry night is quite sufficient to convince you of his great power, for he created these things. It would take a little more difficulty to establish this, but the universe can also be seen as a moral place. As we say, “what goes around, comes around.” From that you might conclude that God is indeed righteous and in favor of justice.

·         There is also special revelation. These are the things that God has to reveal to you in some form of direct revelation. You may know that God is righteous by observing his universe, but unless he reveals it to you it is impossible to know that he loves you. The quality of his mercy would be unproven.

We discover these things in the Scriptures. Sometimes these things are written out explicitly for us; sometimes we have to figure them out from the actions that God takes. For the most important of these, the love and mercy of God, we have both written and action revelation.

The supreme example of God’s mercy towards us is found at the Cross. We may take this in three steps:

·         The first of these is the establishment of the Mosaic law. In this revelation from Moses and the Israelites we find the concept of atonement. This is most prominently displayed in Passover, which is the forerunner of the Lord’s Supper. It is by this revelation that we know that atonement must be made by the shedding of blood.

·         The second of these is the Incarnation. If there is to be a sacrifice which is truly effective in purging the sins of mankind, it must be a sacrifice that is acceptable to God once and for all. As the law teaches us this sacrifice must be perfect and unblemished. Only the incarnate God himself could provide such a sacrifice.

·         The third of these is, of course, the Cross. As it is often quoted, greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends. It is in the sacrifice of Christ himself, his death on the Cross, that we see the greatness of God’s love and mercy.

We are told that men need not so much to be instructed as reminded. In the general revelation of God, the reminders are built-in — they are everywhere around us. In the special revelation of God, the reminders must be constructed so that we will remember what we should. For this reason we have Bible study, prayer and meditation as well as worship and praise. But it is in the simple symbolism of Communion that we have the clearest reminders. The cup represents his blood; the bread, his body. When you partake, He is reminding you of the love God the Father has for us. As you take this cup and the bread be reminded that God loves you — even to the point of the Cross.

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