Originally scheduled for August 9
One of the happiest times of your author’s life
came when he was a boy living on a military Proving Ground. It was a
place where they tested tanks, artillery and other weapons. My
father, a career soldier, was stationed there. Those who ran the
proving ground were always delighted when someone came to see what
they were doing and ready to show off some of their more interesting
My grandfather, a machinist with an automobile
company, went with us on one occasion. After looking at several
smaller failures, we came upon a World War II “Long Tom” cannon.
Imagine, if you will, a 22 foot long banana peel, made of
metal and twisted in all directions. My grandfather took a
professional interest in this. He started by saying that the steel
in the cannon must be defective. He took out his pocketknife and
examined the steel with it in several places. Finally, he concluded
that steel was perfectly good — and that whatever caused this
must’ve produced one really large explosion.
My grandfather exhibited for us a professional
interest in testing. He knew that without testing the steel you
could not determine what it might do. Consider Paul’s admonition to
do the same:
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the
bread and drink of the cup.
(1 Corinthians 11:28 NASB)
The word in the Greek for “examine” is used to
mean testing metal for its soundness and purity. Just as my
grandfather sampled the steel with his pocketknife, we are to
examine ourselves at communion. This carries some interesting
We are to examine ourselves — not
others. We may encourage, exhort or empathize with others; we are
not their judges.
Indeed, we are to examine ourselves —
and no further approval is required.
Ultimately, it is you who will face the Lord at
Judgment Day. He will know in what manner you took communion. It is
much better that you test yourself now than find yourself wanting on
Well then, what should you expect when you
You should have a sense of sorrow for
sin (your sins, not others). From this you should develop the will
to repent of that sin and make such amends as are possible.
You should have love and respect for
your Lord because of the sacrifice he made. This, incidentally,
requires that you have faith.
Your heart should then turn to giving
glory to God for what he has done for you.
We are not told that we must be a “worthy
person” to take communion. That would require an impossible degree
of perfection. Rather, we are told that we must partake in a “worthy
manner.” We are sinners, but here we are called to do it right every