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Communion Meditations (2017)

Sharps

Originally scheduled for September 17

Older listeners will be quite familiar with the fact that the medical profession sometimes uses an injection of cortisone to help relieve the pain of various joints such as the knee. The needle that is used on the injection is quite long, though very thin. If you left one of those needles lying around somewhere you might find that it’s small enough to ignore — until you sit on it. The medical profession is aware of this as well, and in accordance with standard procedures they attempt to dispose of the needle and the hypodermic so that they can cause no further trouble.

If you pay attention carefully you can see how they do this. In most medical examination rooms there is a red colored box hanging on the wall. It is referred to as a “Sharps container.” There is a warning symbol on the outside that looks, somewhat stylistically, like an invasion of scimitars. It tells you of the dangerous materials inside. The manufacturer hopes you have sense enough not to go sticking your fingers into a box full of needles and razor blades.

One particular characteristic of this box is the fact that once you put something in it it requires a special key to unlock the box and get it back out again. In short, those hypodermic needles take a one-way trip to the Sharps box. It’s not like throwing them in the wastebasket; this is hazardous waste material, and is treated as such.

That box is a picture of what many of us long for in life. Life brings us problems, pains and troubles — and along the way a fair share of guilt. All of us are sinners, all of us have that guilt, and the sane among us want to get rid of it. We not only want to get rid of it, we want to make sure it doesn’t come back. We want that guilt to make a one-way trip. That trip is possible only through the grace of God. If you will, picture your sins as razors and needles. You want them to go into that Sharps box and never get back out.

Remember that guilt is not a feeling, but a fact. Modern psychiatry disagrees; a common question from psychiatrists is, “why do you feel guilty about that?” Their assumption is that guilt is a feeling and can be treated to go away. The Christian knows that guilt is a fact, and must be removed by the grace of God.

Communion is a reminder of that removal. It teaches us again, every time we partake, that the atonement has been made for our sins. That atonement is perfect by God’s standards, and therefore unreachable by our efforts. Grace is freely offered; there is no other way we would ever receive it. Like the Sharps box, grace offers a one-way trip to guilt. As you partake this morning, remember that the bread remind you of the body broken for your guilt, your sins; and the cup remind you of the blood shed so that Christ might make atonement for you in accordance with the Law of God. Think on these things; when you partake, do so in a worthy manner.

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