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Communion Meditations (2015)


Originally scheduled for November 15

1 Corinthians 10:17 NASB  (17)  Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.


One of the difficulties of translating one language into another is that the same word may have different meanings. The author of the text may have use that word to mean one of those meanings, or perhaps more than one of those meanings. This type of text is very difficult to translate. Take, for example, the Greek word for “body.” It has a number of meanings.

·         It can simply mean the body of a man or an animal, living or dead. This meaning it shares with English.

·         You can also mean planets and stars — usually translated “heavenly bodies.”

·         Another sense familiar to Christians is that of being a body of men; the church is often described as being the body of Christ.

There is, however, a fourth definition. It’s meaning is something which casts a shadow — as distinct from the shadow itself. Paul just might be alluding to this definition here.

·         To cast a shadow, a body would require light. We could see this as the light of God shining upon the church, casting the shadow which then portrays God to mankind.

·         More to the point, perhaps, to make a shadow you need something which is solid and opaque — something which can be seen. This physical, tangible nature which can interact with light also characterizes the church. We are the body of Christ in the world.

The most obvious point of this particular verse is that we, the church, show ourselves to be one body — a single entity, casting a single shadow. That unity is particularly important for evangelism. But we also proclaim ourselves to be solid. If you will, by the very act of proclaiming our unity in communion, we are telling the world that we are not just some random collection of people. We proclaim ourselves to be something which casts the distinct shadow in the light of God. We say by this act that we are proclaiming that we represent, that we model, the heart and soul of Jesus Christ. In us, men may see the image of Christ.

That’s the claim we make when we take the same body, the same bread. We are telling the world that if they want to see Christ they should look here. The question for us is quite simply this: if they look at us, do they really see Christ? Perhaps as you examine yourselves this morning you should be asking this question. Do I really look like Christ?

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