To The Pure
Originally scheduled for December 7
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and
unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their
conscience are defiled.
(Titus 1:15 NASB)
Paul’s message to Titus in this little passage
contains a very important point. Most Christians see communion as a
very high part of the worship service. But there are always a few
who say, “it’s just a ritual.” Mr. Webster defines ritual as “a
formal act of religion.” If we are to understand ritual, we must
understand formality. This is becoming exceedingly difficult in most
evangelical churches because we have adopted the stance that
everything in our church is casual, and therefore laid back and
Those of us of sufficient antiquity can
remember a time when we went to church wearing our (literally)
“Sunday best.” If you are born just after World War II, you probably
grew up going to church wearing a white shirt and a tie of some
sort. Most parents were willing to compromise with a clip-on tie. We
might well ask why they did this.
If you asked them directly, they
would probably reply was something like, “to show respect to God.”
There was the vague feeling that dressing in your best was a good
way to show honor to God.
It also had the advantage of showing
other people how important that ritual was to us. If you wore a coat
and tie to church, it signified that this was an important occasion.
Those who were among the pure at heart would
have understood these reasons, agreed with them and have trusted
this agreement to mean that everybody else thought so too. To the
impure heart, however, this would seem to be nothing but hypocrisy.
After all, they didn’t mean when they put on a tie on for church; so
why would they think that you meant it?
There is in all of this a test for us. If you
look upon communion as a boring ritual, that may say something for
the people who organize communion. But it says a lot more about you.
Communion is, at root, a simple ritual and one which is perfectly
clear in its symbolism. If you see yourself in communion as being
surrounded by hypocrites who don’t really mean it when they take
this ceremonial meal, perhaps the problem is not with them but with
To the pure, all things are pure — and that
includes communion. The pure in heart see communion as the body and
blood of Christ, taken in remembrance of him until the day arrives
when he returns. So, which of these two is your reaction? Is it
holy, sacred and solemn? Or is it just something we have to get
through to get on with the sermon? The answer says very little about
communion, but a lot about you.