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Communion Meditations (2017)

Purpose

1 Corinthians 11:24-25

Originally scheduled for May 28

I once had the privilege of taking my three-year-old nephew, James, for a walk. His mother and I took him next door to the college campus, which we proceeded to walk across. An adult could do this in 10 to 15 minutes; with James, it took quite a bit more than an hour. James liked to have a walking stick, but was permitted only one at a time. So before exchanging one walking stick for another he had to examine them both quite carefully. This careful examination also applied to every insect along the way; and you can imagine how much time he spent on the various public artworks on display — especially the 12 foot high ice cream cone.

Now, if your purpose was to transport the three-year-old across the campus then a stroller would’ve been much more efficient. Our purpose was to get to know James a little better, and therefore we benefited from the way we did it. If you didn’t know the purpose, you would see the walk as a waste of time. It was actually time well spent. It all depends upon the purpose of the walk.

Communion in many churches runs up against the same problem. Depending on how you see its purpose you come up with a different answer for how it should be done.

·         If it’s just something that “must be done”, then we want to do it as quickly as possible to get onto the main point of the worship service, the pastor’s sermon.

·         If were using it to get the congregation into a “more appropriate mood” for the sermon, it can be a little longer as long as it’s a lot more somber.

·         If we’re just satisfying a tradition, then we make it look like last week. Until the revolution starts, of course.

Communion has its own purpose: the remembrance of the sacrifice of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. We are to remember Christ:

·         We are to remember the Incarnation itself. Ponder the fact that the Lord of the universe was found in human form so that we might become like him.

·         We are to remember that he is the Son of Man. He endured the trials of life just like we do; he knows how we feel and gave himself for us.

·         He is the atoning sacrifice, the one who takes away the sin of the world.

·         He is the one who came forth from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit — and will someday call all his children out from the grave.

As you partake today, call these things to your remembrance. That is why he established the Lord’s Supper.

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