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Communion Meditations (2006)

Far Away Places

Originally delivered June 25

An airline commercial puts it rather well:  the most popular destination for travelers is—home.

There is a parallel to this in the church:  the longing.  In every Christian there is an itch which cannot be scratched.  It is the desire for heaven.

· Many of us feel this desire in the form of those who have already died and are with Christ.  As you get older, this longing increases.  Shortly before her death, my mother put it well:  “All my friends are gone.”  She was lonesome for those she loved.

· Others will tell you that they certainly want to go to heaven—because earth has been trouble enough for them. 

“To live is Christ, to die is gain,” said Paul (Philippians 1:21).  The Christian’s view of death is very different from those in the rest of the world.  Indeed, if you believe that God has a plan and purpose for your life, then death and heaven are the logical result.  Logical?

· If you have not fulfilled God’s plan for you, wouldn’t it be best if you remained here to finish it? 

· If you have fulfilled it, why would you want to stay?

It must be admitted that, by the world’s standards, Christians have a strange way of regarding death.  How is that we can hold such beliefs?

· First and foremost, we know the One who conquered death.  One of the most powerful arguments for the faith in the early days of the church was the way in which Christians went to their deaths—without fear.  They knew the power of the Resurrection, and we should to.

· That same Conqueror has promised His people that He will someday return.  This time, it will not be as a baby in the manger, but the Lord of All.

Such power is beyond mortal man; we could not do this at all.  Therefore we look to Christ as the source of these things:

· We cannot pay the ransom of sin; therefore He paid it for us.  By His death on the Cross he purchased our pardon.

· Like Him, we will rise from the grave.  He is the only one to defeat death, and by His power  we shall obtain the resurrection.

But such an ending did not come without its price.  It is fitting that we commemorate His death, for it is the greatest of God’s gift to us.  Until He returns, let us thankfully remember.

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