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Communion Meditations (2017)

Teapots and Tommy Guns

Originally scheduled for October 1

Perhaps you have never met one, but there are people in this world who collect teapots. There is a surprisingly wide variety of teapots, not all of which would actually make a good cup of tea. But collectors of teapots have a number of things in common.

·         They seek out the rare and beautiful among the teapots. Some of the rare ones are things that look like log cabins; the beautiful teapots often look to be elegant compositions of roses. The ordinary teapot usually doesn’t find a place in the collection — though it may find a place in the sink.

·         Teapots are carefully stored and cared for. They are not kept lying around in whatever odd corner, but if not on display are carefully boxed and kept in boxes to protect them.

·         They inevitably become a frequent (and sometimes obnoxious) topic of conversation. When you spend that much time on teapots, they tend to occupy your conversation.

There are also people out there who collect Tommy guns. Firearm collectors share a number of things in common with teapot collectors. One of the things that is a little bit different is that collecting Tommy guns requires a federal license — an expensive federal license. In addition there are boatloads of regulations concerning what can and cannot be done with firearms collected under such license. But one thing the teapots in the Tommy guns have in common: they are usually on display. If you have a prize specimen, it is placed in a location where everyone can look at it. Some collectors even go to the point of building in special lighting to show off their collection. Real collectors display their collections.

Why do we display our collections? This is very much a part of human behavior. Whether it’s teapots or Tommy guns, we display things which are a part of us. Those who collect Tommy guns are often military men, and some of the weapons will have personal connections. Teapot collectors tend to be those who appreciate beauty. We’re showing off a part of us.

It’s also perfectly normal for any collector to be completely enthusiastic about his collection. Often enough the obtaining of a rare specimen is something to brag about — and we do.

More than that, it makes as part of a special group. Nothing so pleases the Tommy gun collector as a group of firearms enthusiasts looking at his collection. I suspect the teapot owners feel the same way about teapots. It makes us part of a special group, and we are proud of that.

Perhaps you haven’t thought of it this way, but in communion we display the body and blood of Christ. We say to one and all who see it that this is an important part of us. It is essential to our character that we recognize the sacrifice made for us on Calvary. We take the time and trouble to go to a specific place at a specific time to do this, which would tell anyone that we must really want to do it. But the biggest reason we do it is that it unites us as the church. We are like those collectors: we are enthused to be a part of a special group.

So, as you take communion today, consider that you are displaying to the world your love for Jesus Christ. It’s something you want to talk about. It’s something that makes you part of a special group — the church. And like our teapot collections it’s something we want to share.

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