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Communion 2009

Aerospace Ways

Originally scheduled for July 12

It is not long before the beginning aerospace engineer will hear the phrase, “Beat to shape, trim to fit, paint to match.” When the internal design changes, it often requires the surface of the aircraft to be modified – to keep the aircraft flying. Christianity has somewhat the same process.


“Beat to shape” – in the original, changing the shape of the sheet metal as required. For the Christian it might take one of these forms:

God may use our trials to bring us to salvation – those who found Christ as an adult often have this experience.

Once we are Christians, God often uses our pain and suffering to shape us a particular type of Christian, to encourage others.

Often enough our trials are shared – so that in their endurance we may be brought together to be one.


“Trim to fit” – the major changes made in pain in suffering, other changes made in quieter (and perhaps deeper) ways.

How often the teacher hears someone tell him that his lesson must have been tailored just for that one person. No, just God trimming.

Sometimes it’s reading a particular author; how many lives have changed by reading C. S. Lewis?

Such minor corrections are given to us in the examples of others.


“Paint to match” – making the appearance on the outside be consistent. Why would a Christian be concerned with appearances? Because they are a way of telling the truth. On the inside we have received the grace and glory of God, given at the Cross. On the outside, therefore, we must tell that truth.

We have been given a way to do this in Communion. For as often as you partake, you proclaim the Lord’s death – and thus the grace that flows with it and the glory of God who gives it. He is making you into what he wants you to be; acknowledge this, and let the world see it too.

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