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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

School Yard

Originally scheduled for February 11

It is a common experience among children of military personnel: another year, another cross-country (or around the world) move.   You get to go to a new school. (Your author went to seven different schools in five years for his elementary grades.) In that new school, within the first week, you will get beaten up by a number of the boys. The administration condones this as being the best way of putting the new kid in his place. But if you could watch such a beating, you would see that the other children crowd around and yell insults at the kid being beaten up. It’s a vicious form of entertainment — just like wrestling on television.

This custom mimics, in a small way, the sufferings of our Lord on the cross. Crucifixion was considered an ordinary way to deal with a dangerous political opponent — and assure the rest of the population just who is in charge here. It is a deliberate public spectacle were insults and mockery are expected from anyone and everyone. The religious leaders showed no mercy, nor did the general public. It is an interesting thought that most of the mockery was done by common, ordinary people. That is a mirror in which we can see our own reflections. If you look inside your heart of hearts, can you honestly say you wouldn’t have gone along with the crowd?

But of more importance is Christ’s reaction to this. First, he gives us an example of suffering without complaining. He does not scream back that this is unfair, which it is. He suffered in silence, a virtue which is often unappreciated except in its absence. We do not often preach this, but his example is a very powerful one for those who are suffering unfairly, in pain, or for reasons unknown to them.

Beyond that, it is the great example of forgiveness. How much he loves us! Some of those people who were mocking him on that day would become members of the first Christian Church on Pentecost. The shame of that mockery was wiped away by the power of the Holy Spirit in the formation of the church. When we remember that the church is the bride of Christ, and the example for our marriages, we can see quite easily that when your spouse yells at you, the right response is forgiveness.

Communion reminds us of how suffering is to be borne. We see in Christ’s suffering the way in which he would like to have us suffer also, whether we are suffering for his sake or because of disease, injury or other misfortune. He showed us that we should stand up to suffering confident in the love of God. It is also an example of forgiveness, especially useful in marriage. Perhaps most important, it is a mirror in which we can see our own sins. Therefore, we are required to examine ourselves before taking communion — so that we might see our sinful nature, and repent.

 

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