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Communion Meditations (2014)

Whittling

Originally scheduled for March 30

Some things in this life are taught.  Others are passed on from generation to generation.  Whittling is one of those things which is passed on. 

Truth to tell, it appears highly likely that whittling is something that is passed on by grandfathers.  It is as if God made grandfathers with more time than fathers, and thus allows them to teach their grandsons to whittle.  Teaching a boy to whittle takes time and patience, and this seems to be the special province of the grandfather.

It starts with a tool – the jack knife.  My grandfather gave me mine about 56 years ago;  it was one that he had for quite some time himself.  The jack knife is a lifetime tool – indeed, it is common for a jack knife to have come from a different century.  It must be kept sharp; that skill, too, is handed down.  He never told me who gave him that knife; it was handed down, you see.

Perhaps communion should be handled in the same fashion – passed down, not taught.  The young should not be left to their own thoughts to figure it out; they should certainly not have to figure out how to react to it.  Of course, this is going to require patience:

·         It requires patience to teach it.  Communion comes infrequently; we are all so anxious for instant results.

·         It requires patience to learn it.  How often have you said, “never again” and then had to repeat it the next time you took communion?

So what should we teach them?

·         First, they must see beyond the pictures.  The cup is not just a dark liquid; it is the blood of Christ .  The bread is not just a flat wafer; it is the body of Christ.  These were given for you that your sins might be forgiven.  Over and over again, if need be.

·         Next, know what you’re carving.  If you’re whittling a bird house and it comes out as a letter opener, you need to try again.

·         Look inside yourself; it’s personal.  Communion is not for show; it’s to help you grow closer to Christ. 

So as you partake this morning, be grateful for the one who passed on communion to you – and be prepared to pass it on yourself.

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