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Communion Meditations (2015)

Exclusive

Originally scheduled for July 5

If we had only the Old Testament, it would be a reasonable conclusion if we determined that the salvation of God was a very exclusive thing.

·         For example, Noah took 100 years to build an ark in which to save his family — and nobody else. A great deal of expense, a great deal of effort for a very small result.

·         Of the more symbolic nature is the Ark of the Covenant. You will recall that Moses got the pattern for the Ark from God himself, directly. Its major ingredient was gold. It was therefore a beautiful thing, and extremely expensive thing — and seen once a year in the Tabernacle. Precious and rare was the Ark of the Covenant.

·         Solomon’s Temple was quite a bit larger, but note that there was only one of them and it had to be built on the exact spot where God specified. It was large but it was incredibly expensive; even today the amount of gold specified for the Temple runs into several billion dollars. It was the place where God had placed his name, and the only place where you could truly worship God.

In the New Testament the matter changes quite a bit.

·         First, there are no geographic limits. You don’t have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca nor bring your sacrifices to Jerusalem. Rather, God told his church to go into all the world with his salvation.

·         If the materials symbolizing salvation in the Old Testament were precious and rare, such as gold, the materials in the New Testament are common and plentiful — bread and wine.

·         Indeed, there seems to be only one qualification you have to meet before you can have the grace of God. You must be a sinner first. As a practical matter, this does not seem to be much of a difficulty.

In the Old Testament God’s grace is distinguished by the fact that it is exclusive, rare and precious. In the New Testament, the first thing you see about God’s grace is its abundance. This does not mean that God’s grace is cheap; anything but. The price of God’s grace was Christ upon the cross, a price beyond our measure. So it is that when we approach communion we must do so with a calm reverence of someone who was approaching the Temple, or the Ark of the Covenant. It is a great and solemn thing, and our hearts should reflect this. At the same time we should remember that the greatness of God is shown in the fact that this high and holy offering of grace is poured out abundantly, even to the least of sinners.

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