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Communion 2009

Skull & Crossbones

Originally scheduled for August 9

Have you ever considered the symbolism on the rather common version of the pirate flag, the skull and crossbones?

The skull and crossbones symbolizes death, of course.

The black background symbolizes evil.

So why, then, are pirates always played by romantic leads such as Errol Flynn? Why is it that such a symbol is sold – and to little children – at places like Disneyland?


Perhaps more significantly, why is it that women just seem to love their pirates?

One reason might be that they want a bold, dominant, alpha male – who of course has sense enough to do just what his wife tells him.

Another thought is that pirates are dangerous; knowing one is an adventure, and most of us have a taste for adventure – as long as it’s not really too dangerous. (This explains roller coaster rides, too.)

Besides, we all know it for what it is: play acting. Nobody ever got busted for flying the Jolly Roger from the staff of his fishing boat.


But a lot of Christians have been busted – even crucified – for the act of insisting on the Lord’s Supper instead of doing things the world’s way. Millions of Christians died just for refusing to symbolically worship the Roman Emperor. Apparently some symbolism is more meaningful than others.

This symbolic act is easy to interpret. In the bread we see Christ’s body, in the cup we see his blood. Like the skull and crossbones, these things symbolize death. But the act itself is a proclamation of love, not of evil. Indeed, it is also a proclamation of life, not death, for we take this bread and drink this cup until our Lord returns.

So as you take this supper remember that it is no light-hearted, amusement park bauble. It is the body and blood of Christ, and it symbolizes life eternal.

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