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Communion 2009

Seeing Things Unseen

Originally scheduled for May 31

Many living today are proud of their hard-nosed, “show me” attitude towards life. But if you examine it, even such people still have the problem of seeing that which intrinsically cannot be seen. A simple example of this is ever-present: the wind.

It’s easiest done, I’m told, at sea with sailing ships. An experienced sailor can tell you wind speed and direction simply by looking at other ships. Determining the course of the other ship and the set of her sails will tell the speed and direction of the wind.

On land it’s a bit more difficult. But all of us are familiar with the sound of the wind; trees bending in the wind are familiar sight. We see the unseen, then, by its effects.

In the air it is more difficult. The best methods use radar – that is, we use the unseen to see the unseen.

 

We may be assured that others do this to measure the Holy Spirit in our lives. Some see us as sailors do – they see the direction we’re headed in, and the actions we are taking (like setting sails for that sailor) and can then determine just how much the Holy Spirit is in us. Others see us like the trees – bent, and making a howling noise. Our anger and our words also tell others about the Spirit within. People see our results and estimate the unseen cause.

 

We have a more difficult problem in Communion. All that we can see are the visible elements of bread and wine; how does the Christian see beyond this? Those looking at us see the visible; when we look at Communion we must see the unseen – and discern the body and blood of Christ. We do it (like the radar for the wind) with the unseen –the power of the Holy Spirit. If we see only the elements themselves, we see nothing. But if we have the Spirit open our eyes, we see the body and blood of Christ – the sacrifice he made on the cross for our salvation. As long as Christ remains unseen we will do this. When the faith becomes sight, we will need it no more.

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