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Communion Meditations (2017)

Blessing in Disguise

Originally scheduled for August 20

At the end of the Second World War the British people were given their first chance in ten years to elect a new parliament. The Prime Minister at the time was, of course, Winston Churchill. Churchill himself was quite popular with the British voters, but his Conservative party was not. They were held to be at fault for the lack of preparation for the war. As a result, the Conservatives lost and thus Churchill found himself out of office. As the results came in, his wife tried to console him with the thought, “Winston, it is a blessing in disguise.” He replied, “Madame, at the moment it is quite effectively disguised.”

Perhaps the greatest instance of “blessing in disguise” might be found on the evening of Good Friday. The apostles were in hiding, fearful for their lives, having just seen their leader crucified. They knew that if the authorities could find them they might follow very quickly. From that point of view, Good Friday was a total disaster. Yet we still call it “Good Friday” because it was a blessing in disguise. The blessing was revealed on Sunday morning — Easter Sunday. So immense was this blessing that it had to be almost leaked out. Instead of a choir of angels, Christ chose to reveal his resurrection first to those women who had come to his tomb to embalm his body.

Sometimes we don’t know a blessing when it’s staring us in the face. It may seem strange to you that Christ reacted to the crucifixion with joy, but here it is:

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Hebrews 12:2) (emphasis added)

 

The apostles saw disaster; Christ saw the joy to come. As Christians we are told to imitate this attitude. For example, as the apostle James put it,

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(James 1:2-4)

 

It’s hard to translate this into modern English and experience, but look at it this way: if you are suffering for Christ, you are on the team. Satan does not pay attention to Mr. Nobody. So it is that we are taught that we should “rejoice in the Lord always.” May I submit to you that one way to do that is in the taking of communion? What is in communion that we celebrate — isn’t that the word that we always use for communion? — Celebrate.

Communion celebrates victory. How so?

·         It celebrates our victory over Satan (see Luke 10:18).

·         It celebrates our victory over sin. Before Christ there was no known cure for sin.

·         Perhaps most joyous of all, it celebrates our victory over death (see First Corinthians 15:54).

As you partake this morning of the body and blood of Christ, remember that your blessing, your victories, came from Christ’s victory through his sacrifice on the cross.

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