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Communion Meditations (2015)

Whose Body?

Originally scheduled for December 27

(The author is indebted to Agatha Christie for the title and Andrew Murray for much of the content.)

 

Consider, if you will, the favorite word of most two-year-olds: mine. As adults use the word it has a variety of meanings. But I would focus today on the method by which you got whatever it is of what you can say “mine.”

·         You could’ve obtained it by creating it, purchasing it or inheriting it. In these instances there is no particular dispute over whether or not it’s really yours, and there is some sense that the item in question is deservedly yours. You, or your ancestor, paid for it or earned it or made it.

·         Alternately, it could be yours by means of a gift. In that instance, you usually don’t feel that you particularly deserved it — just that you got it.

Does it make a difference? I submit that it does. We are told that in communion we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Do you not see that this makes that body ours? Indeed it does — what we call His body is now ours, by means of a gift. It’s not that we deserved it, or that one of our ancestors deserved it, it’s that he gave it to us.

Gifts come in assorted sizes, shapes and flavors. But it is a fact that a gift which is given to us out of love is usually one that is highly prized, for we remember the love which gave it. We tend to think highly of the giver. But there is a greater possibility. A gift which is given freely — not out of compulsion, but out of free will — is the gift of a friend. The gift symbolizes not only the love, but our relationship with that individual.

There’s a curiously interesting aspect of this. We mentioned gifts given freely; but have you ever considered that this is a gift which is taken freely? When people think that the gift is somehow suspect, they ask questions, wondering if they aren’t really entitled to it. But a gift that you can take freely is one that is a pure gift indeed. When a gift comes with the simple joy of being nothing but a gift, purely, it is much easier to take.

In this instance, we must also consider the relationship between the giver and the gift. Depending upon the giver, a gift can have greater value if the person giving it is greatly valued. For example, suppose that one of your distant ancestors had served in the Revolutionary War. For his services, George Washington gave him the gift of a sword, let us say. You wouldn’t keep it in the junk metal bin in the garage; it would be hanging over your fireplace mantel and you would be very happy to explain its origins to anyone who asked. The giver (in this instance George Washington) gives value to the gift. Thus, the Lord’s Supper is a very prized and great gift indeed; do not take it lightly. As you partake, consider these things:

·         Who is the giver?

·         At what price was the gift given?

·         With what motive was the gift given?

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