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Communion Meditations (2015)


Originally scheduled for March 22

Sit up straight children, and consider today’s example:  it is an advertisement for a product which is currently available on the Internet. The text of the advertisement is rather brief, and reads thusly.

Cross.  Exorcised salt inside.  Certificate of Authenticity papers. Touched to 1st class relic of True  Cross.   Backed up by perpetual prayers.  Exceedingly beautiful  designs.  Partial indulgence to those who will "kiss, hold, venerate" with faith and unconditional indulgence at moment of death.

Until I read this advertisement, I had no idea that salt could be exorcised. As you no doubt suspected, this is sold by an agency of the Roman Catholic Church. You may be smiling at the example of a religious trinket that is given here, but please do remember that it is not the Roman Catholic Church which distributes these things exclusively. Many charismatic Christians are aware of offers to ship you “Holy Anointing Oil” for a minimum contribution. There is a long tradition of this sort of thing; one of the first radio preachers use to offer his listeners the chance (for a minimum contribution) to obtain a “bright religious green prayer cloth.” The idea was that you put this cloth on top of your radio and whatever you put on top of the cloth would somehow be blessed.

Of course, most of us at one time or another have purchased something because it was a Christian thing to do. I suspect that many homes contain calendars which have a verse of the day, for example. These things don’t claim to have spiritual value other than to point you to the real thing. May I suggest there are a couple of questions that you want to ask before you purchase such an item?

·         Does the trinket claim actual spiritual power, or just a reminder of who really does have that power?

·         Who created the first such trinket? Is this something that goes back to the early church, or was it invented recently?

·         For what purpose was it created? Is this someone’s way of making money?

It is good to note that our Lord himself instituted only two rituals. These two rituals relate to his prime purpose: to seek and save the lost. I have never encountered an instance of anyone charging money for either of these two. The first, of course, is baptism — which in a sense is the start of salvation. Communion is the continuance of salvation. It is of value to us because it reminds us that we are sinners saved by grace. It is his blood and body on the cross that has purchased our salvation. We need to be reminded of that; so our Lord has implemented a simple ritual which will remind us of that. Simplicity carries with it the virtue that it lets us see the real core truth. Behold the man upon the cross; by his wounds we are healed.


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