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Communion Meditations (2015)


Originally scheduled for November 8

2 John 1:7 NASB  For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.


In 1976 the comedian Mel Brooks made an unusual film. It was titled Mel Brooks Silent Movie, and it was just that — silent. Silent, except for one word spoken by one actor. So here’s your movie trivia question of the week: what was the word, and who spoke it? The answer is fairly simple: the word was “non” (which is the French word for “no”) and it was spoken by the famous French mime, Marcel Marceau. (A mime, for those of you who don’t know, is always supposed to be silent.)

The art of the mime is simply this: he tells the story, whatever it is, in gestures, bodily movement — but never in words. You might ask of what use is such a performer. The method has its uses:

·         It is excellent in telling the story to those of a different culture.

·         It works pretty well with the illiterate, as well.

·         It is a technique which can be brilliant and simple at the same time — which is a most intriguing way to tell a story.

In a way, Communion bears a great deal of resemblance to mime. It needs no words; it is simple and brilliant at the same time. For most of the history of the church — at least before the Reformation — the majority of Christians were quite illiterate. Unless you were part of the upper-class, you were probably never educated in reading and writing. Not that this would do you any good if you were, because you would also need a great deal of money to purchase a copy of the Bible — they were all hand written. And, since Christianity spread across many cultures, we needed things that would tell the story without words.

Communion tells the most important story ever told. It teaches us a lesson of the Incarnation. It is a central point of Christian theology that Christ came in the flesh — in other words, he is totally and completely human. But it is also equally true that he is totally and completely divine — God in the flesh. The purpose of the Incarnation was to provide the ultimate atonement sacrifice. After all, God could drop off instructions in the form of any number of prophets — and did. It is no accident that virtually all the classic heresies of the Christian faith start with someone having “a new and special addition” to the Bible. That special knowledge somehow or other informed you that Christ was either not God or he was not human — or both. The church has had to fight this since its earliest days.

So when you take Communion this morning, remember that when you take the bread you are proclaiming his body — silently, like a mime. You are telling the world that Christ came in the flesh, that he is totally human. Being totally human, he can sympathize with your problems and your pains. But you also take the cup, which proclaims his sacrifice on the Cross where he bled and died. To be an acceptable sacrifice he had to be sinless, and to be sinless he had to be God. So you proclaim his divine nature, fully and completely, when you take the cup.

Therefore, do this in a serious and sacred manner. Don’t take it lightheartedly, but examine yourself before you do take. Then, in remembrance, partake of his body and his blood. Be the silent witness to the Incarnation.

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