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Communion 2009

The Whistle

Originally scheduled for August 23

Most of us have owned a common police whistle at one time or another. Children are fond of them; anything that makes a loud noise does seem to appeal to them. But there are adult uses too:

Whistles are used to get our attention. Sometimes we need to focus on the danger at hand, and the sound of a whistle does that for us.

As Boy Scout leaders know, giving each child a whistle makes it easier to find a lost Boy Scout. All he needs to know is to whistle back.

We also use whistles to direct traffic – drum majors start a march with them, police officers direct traffic with them.

But did you know there is another, more exuberant use of the whistle? It is used as a musical instrument! Particularly in jazz, and Caribbean music, it provides a joyous sound – very often like listening to a parade.


Communion parallels much of that. Perhaps that seems an odd way of looking at it, but think about it:

We are commanded to do it regularly. It’s one way God gets our attention. By this we must have a time to go before God Almighty; he thus has our attention – and, we hope, repentance.

Often enough, some of us are “found in the woods” – coming to Communion. The week leaves us feeling lost in the world; the Lord’s Supper is a welcome home.

If we are repentant, then it is at Communion we get directions confirmed. Sometimes it is easier to hear the still, small voice when the room is hushed in reverence.


But in Communion there is also an element of exuberant joy, as if we had joined an angel chorus. For if we share in the death of Christ, do we not also share in his victory over death? Indeed, if you can take Communion honestly, is it not an assurance of your own salvation? And exuberance? The parade will begin at his return, but even now we proclaim his return in taking Communion. Let your joy be full; Jesus has triumphed over the grave.

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