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Communion Meditations (2006)

Oil Change

Originally delivered March 12

It is a part of the national character of red-blooded American boys:  they know about cars.  From the time they’re old enough to hand Daddy a wrench from the toolbox (the right wrench takes a few years) the American male and his car are inseparable. 

The same cannot be said for the American female.  There are many women out there with an appreciation of cars, but it must be admitted that our society harbors a number of women who do not so much purchase a car as inflict themselves upon it.  Such a young lady dined with us recently.  The matter was very clear;  the car had been handed down and handed down before it got to her.  Such women recognize three techniques for dealing with an oil light blazing red:

· Run the car into the ground.  Simply ignore the idiot light.  It probably isn’t functioning correctly anyway, just wait until the car won’t go and then have a mechanic fix it.  A man designed that idiot light, let a man fix it.

· Add a quart—or two, or three.  The problem is the idiot light, right?  OK, adding oil turns the idiot light off.  Simple problem, simple solution.  Why must men make things so complicated?  No reason to change it; just add to it.  Same solution worked last week, right?

· Change the oil.  While this does involve taking a man’s advice, it has certain other advantages.  It leaves you with the secure feeling that there was nothing more you could have done for the poor vehicle.  And, if you believe the mechanic, it’s the best thing to do.

Communion:  A time when your personal red light goes on.  The rest of the week you can ignore it, but the Scripture is clear:  you are to examine yourself.  When the red light goes on, there are three methods for dealing with that too:

· Go through the motions.   Ignore the warning.  Don’t think about your furious anger; the greed, the envy—rather, act like all is fine.  God will eventually adjust to your version of righteousness;  after all, you are sincere about it.  It’s just that it’s inconvenient to deal with the problem right now. 

· Promise to do better—or at least more.  OK, so you scream at your wife a lot.  But how about that church workday you showed up for?  Doesn’t that count?  Just keep thinking about the good stuff you do; no real reason to examine yourself.

· Clean it out.  He calls you to examine yourself.  Turn around, face it squarely and tell Him that you admit it.  Whatever it is you wanted to bury under the façade of niceness or compensate for, drag it to the Light and admit it.  Ask his forgiveness;  ask Him to create a clean heart within you.

The clean engine of the human being is the clean heart.  Only at the Cross can you find forgiveness; only in repentance can you have Him clean your heart.  Your life will run a lot better when you do.

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