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Communion Meditations (2017)

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Originally scheduled for September 24

Most of us have heard, many times, that we must approach communion in a “worthy manner.” For most of us, this starts with confession of sin and repentance. We have to get things right with the Lord. Often enough, this concept sometimes excludes thoughts of others; we look at it as being something we do individually. That includes, of course, the necessity of our forgiving others. Many of us have struggled through the process of forgiveness; often enough, we have to repeat it “7×70” as Christ told Peter. But we do so, and we think were okay in our conscience. But there is one nagging little thought that shows up when we arrive at communion.

That thought, of course, is the fellow who is taking communion next to us. We look at him and realize that, despite our forgiveness, he continues to offend us. He persists in doing those things that really bug you. Even worse he may be persisting in things which show his pride and no opportunity for you to show your humility. What can you do about this?

  • You could take the high road on this. While communion is going on, you can say to yourself that you will be charitable and forgiving — and only later will you confront him. Of course, you will do this in a decent Christian manner, one on one. No one else need step into that argument. One might ask, however, whether or not you really have all the facts. It is even more deadly to ask whether or not you are speaking the truth in love.

  • There is also the low road. You can just decide to let everyone else in the church know of just what a stinker this fellow is, and how kind and charitable you have been towards him. I will let you worry about where the limits of slander and gossip might lie.

The truth is, you are borrowing trouble. Paul puts it this way to the Romans:

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  (Romans 14:4)

This is the Lord’s Table, not yours. He has burdened you with the duty of righteousness and forgiveness; he has not burdened you with another man’s sin. Render unto God the things that are God’s.

The truth is that our Lord desires to have fellowship around the table as well as at the table. What should you really be doing about the other fellow’s sin? You of course are expected to forgive. But in addition to that may I suggest to you Peter’s admonition to his followers.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

(1 Peter 4:8)

 

if you cannot cure it, cover it with love. Your great love for your Christian brother and sister should be sufficient to keep harmony at the Lord’s Table. If you will consider how essential it is for the harmony of the church that you love one another, then you will know that communion is one of the most important times to let love cover a multitude of sins.

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