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Communion Meditations (2017)

Trademark

Originally scheduled for June 11

It’s one of those things that you recognize instantly. Even if there was no lettering on the bottle, the shape of the bottle tells you right away: it belongs to Coca-Cola. Even aeronautical engineers make reference to it when they tell you that the fuselage of a supersonic aircraft must have a Coke bottle shape. That bottle is one of many millions of trademarks. A trademark can be a slogan, can be a picture, can be almost anything as long as it serves the purposes of a trademark.

·         It serves as a badge of origin — it tells you what company made this so you can tell the distinctive from the generic. It is some visible sign that let you know that this was really made by Coca-Cola, not somebody who just happens to have a bottling plant.

·         It is exclusive. You know that nobody but Coca-Cola is going to use that shape of a bottle. It tells you where it came from and that it came from nowhere else.

·         One thing it must be, however: it must be sufficiently distinct that it is clear to its customers where this product originated. A trademark which is confusing is no trademark at all.

In a very real sense, communion is the trademark of the church.

·         As a badge of origin it tells you that the church originated in Christ. It is founded upon his sacrifice, and marked by this particular ceremony. Communion does not necessarily guarantee soundness of doctrine, but it does tell you that you are in church.

·         It is exclusive. No other religion bases itself upon such a ceremony. Christianity sees its founding in the sacrifice of Christ. Communion, as such, would make no sense in any other religion. The ceremony itself tells you it came from Christ.

·         It is distinctive, because it is so simple. The bread represents his body; the cup, his blood. Everything else is just a detail. There is no requirement for silverplated communion trays; there is no requirement for a particular variety of wine. Just, simply, the bread and the cup.

It is important to recognize, though, that we are the church. So I might ask you:

·         Do we, as the church, show where our values came from?

·         Can the world see us as “exclusive” — meaning “one-of-a-kind.” The church is not to be an echo, but a voice.

·         As a trademark must be a clear indicator of what it represents, we should be clear indicators that we represent Christ to the world. We are ambassadors of reconciliation and in this simple ritual we tell the world the price paid for that reconciliation.

Therefore, examine yourself to see that you are indeed a living trademark of Jesus Christ and his church. May the world see Christ in you.

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