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Communion Meditations (2006)

Scale Models

Originally delivered May 21

Many of us who are beyond the years of playing computer games will remember a hobby that gave us a sense of accomplishment with little expense but lots of effort:  model making.  Perhaps it is just a sign of antiquity, but many remember getting a box of parts which, with diligence and a sparing use of glue, eventually came together to be a scale model of a ship, plane or vehicle.  Everything in the model was built “to scale” - a smaller copy which preserves the detail of the larger.

For the younger modeler, it was a personal thrill to display the model to someone who had served on the original ship, or flown the life-size plane.  It was especially rewarding when he would identify it without being prompted.  “That’s a P-51!”

Models have a fine use in our lives:  they represent the essence of the thing being modeled.  No one would model an aircraft carrier and paint it paisley.  By use of the model we identify, we honor and we symbolize. 

Did you know there is a model in the Old Testament?  Indeed there is.  You may find reference to it in First Chronicles 28:18 (some use “model”, others “pattern”).  We know that the Israelite was told to make no graven image—no models of deities, so to speak.  But David was given the pattern of this model:  the chariot of the cherubim.  It is a curious phrase, that; but it is a model given to David for Solomon’s use in building the Temple.  It is not known if the cherubim were placed in a chariot, or whether this reminds us that God mounted the cherubim and flew.  We do know that these were patterned after the model. 

Communion is rather like that too; it is a model of our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross.  It is a model in the sense of being a portrait; “this is my body.”  It is a simple thing, but the act that it models for us is clearly seen.

But Communion is greater than that.  Each time you take Communion you proclaim the Lord’s death—the death of atonement.  But do you not see also that this is the model for the martyrs of the church?  The early martyrs died in much the way Christ did, not just in method but in steadfast refusal to betray their Lord.  The reminder is still there; perhaps we shall see martyrs in our own time.

Once more:  you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  We must be content with the model now; but the time is coming (soon, Lord, soon) when we shall see Him face to face.  Until then, we have the pattern, the model, in Communion.  Where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is also.  Now, in the form of the model—then, face to face with the Living God.

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