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Communion Meditations (2015)

The Whisper, Part One

Originally scheduled for January 25

I recently had the privilege of attending a concert by the Gary Bonner Singers during which they performed a song about communion which I had never heard before. It is called The Whisper.

In the desert, in the wilderness of life,
I am searching for the One Who searches me.

As I wander, hungry, thirsty, lost, alone,
I hear the whisper of my name.

"Come to the table. Your name is written on My hand.
Come to the table. Your name is hidden in My heart.
Come to the table and live."

At the table, He prepares for me a place.
He redeems me, I am pardoned by His grace.

He restores me with His rich and lavish love.
In His call, I hear the whisper of my name.

"Come to the table. Your name is written on My hand.
Come to the table. Your name is hidden in My heart.
Come to the table and live."

Composer/Arranger: Craig Courtney
Lyrics: Susan Bentall Boersma

For the next few weeks I will be using this song as the basis for a series of communion meditations. If you’d like to hear the song as sung, there is an excellent rendition here.


For those of you who have never spent any significant amount of time in the desert, it may seem unreasonable to use the desert as a metaphor for the spiritual wilderness of life. After all, if you’re in the desert everything appears to be quite clear. There is no mass of trees between you and your destination; all you have to do is look around. But those of us who have lived in the desert know that it is a subtle place, and its disguises are subtle too. The colors seem in pale shades with very fine differences in tone. When night comes, it is dark. I don’t mean the dark with a shopping center glow on the horizon; I mean dark — like sailors know when they are far from land. It is our spiritual wilderness; subtle changes in color, disguises everywhere and darkness coming frequently.

The wilderness of life is like that. Things seem obvious to us. As one wit put it, “to every problem there is a solution – neat, plausible and wrong.” Many of us are gifted at finding that exact solution. How do we distinguish the right answer from the answer which looks almost right? Especially if we don’t have the experience of having been here, it’s difficult. This is why you’re obviously bright ideas often have a subtle flaw that appears gradually. If you want to turn around and go back the way you came, you find that it’s no more clear than the way you got here. If you’re like me, you need a Guide.

But how do I determine who is the right Guide? Just because I’m actively seeking him, doesn’t mean that I really know which guide I should be following. Many of us focus on the guide that we make, or the guy that we imagine, or the guide that is cheap and easy. The real test is not that you or I made, imagines or found the guide. We tell the right guide by what he can do — and in the spiritual wilderness that means that he must be able to demonstrate that he has searched me. In the spiritual wilderness the guide had better know my inmost being and my every fault. The spiritual Guide knows every detail of the spiritual wilderness.

Christians meet this guide at the communion table. At communion, you reveal to him your inmost being so that he might search it and know it. If you do this, he will first show you your fault and error. You, of course, must be listening if this is to be of any good effect. But there is more to it than this. In communion we see that our Guide has offered himself as the remedy for our sins. It is not that Jesus knows the way in the wilderness — it is that he is the way, the truth and the life. Search your heart today, open it up to the only guide who knows where you should be going – and live.

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