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Communion Meditations (2017)


Originally scheduled for October 15

Forgiveness. It is a common theme in the Bible, but much less a common theme in our lives. It might profit us to look at forgiveness before we partake of its supreme example.


We don’t normally think of forgiveness as having a certain power to it. It generally strikes our mind as something “nice to do”; but it is much more than that.

·         When we grant forgiveness, we are following Christ’s command. Experienced Christians know that the power of the Christian life is unleashed by obedience. Do it God’s way the first time — it works.

·         More than that, by our forgiving others Christ has guaranteed us that he will forgive us. So we unleashed the forgiveness of God by forgiving others.

·         Personally, forgiveness is beneficial for us. Done correctly, it relieves us of the bitterness, anger and strife of a long-term feud.

Even more when Christ forgives us, we find that he tells us our sins are swept away; he remembers them no more. It gives us a fresh chance — and most of us need that fairly frequently. Greatest of all, his forgiveness is eternal, and thus has eternal consequences, good or bad. The power of forgiveness is there; we just have to release it. We release it by accepting it in our own lives (and, I hope, thanking God for it at the time) while we forgive others as well.


There is one consistent theme to forgiveness: the one who wants reconciliation is the one who pays for it. If you wish to forgive, you are the reconciler. And you’re going to pay for it. For when you forgive, you in effect bear the consequences of the sin of someone else. If they have offended you, you forgive but the consequences of that sin, and its impact on you, are still with you.

The great example of the price of forgiveness is Christ on the cross. For the sins of mankind he gave up his life — and not at all pleasantly. The nails, the blood, the wounds and the agony are the price of your forgiveness. Placed in perspective, you forgiving someone else will never rise to the price of Christ forgiving all of us.


Forgiveness is not just the matter of letting bygones be bygones. There is an effect on the one forgiven which can be quite striking. Christ tells us that he who is forgiven much, loves much. When the forgiveness is very expensive, or the sins very great, the love which results from reconciliation is also very great. Sometimes we are reluctant to forgive because of the greatness of the offense. God’s promise to forgive us is contingent upon our willingness to forgive others. If you wish to receive his mercy, you must imitate his mercy. But unlike our forgiveness, God’s forgiveness is eternal. We have no power over anything but the time we have; he has power over all time.


Communion is first and foremost a reminder of the price that was paid for our forgiveness. This was not an example of weakness being forced to forgive. Indeed, the power of God is shown to be very great by his raising Christ from the dead. We can receive that power of forgiveness by accepting the promise of God; the promise of which communion is a reminder every time we take it.

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