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Communion Meditations (2006)

The Old Man's Gesture

Originally delivered October 15

It seems but yesterday…

He was an old man, but it did not take long to see that he was a man accustomed to respect.  He had been a company commander in the Army.  Most captains are called “The Old Man”; he was known as “The Bear.”  Tough as nails and straight as an arrow, he was a man to whom duty was a familiar word, and honor with it.  He was, as the phrase is today, awesome.

Perhaps it comes as a surprise to you (and  perhaps not), the way in which he honored his wife.  His eyes no longer permitted him to drive, so she would take him to their favorite restaurant.  When they arrived, she would sit in the driver’s seat until he pulled his legs out of the car, pushed his cane into the pavement and slowly rose to his feet.  She would watch with apprehension as he carefully came around the car to open the door for her.  It is a gesture the world thinks demeaning to a woman;  but had you seen it, you would recognize it as a gesture of honor—and love.

Gestures.  They are a vocabulary without words.  We use gestures in many ways:

· We express anger and hatred with them;  the word “obscene” is the most common adjective for a gesture.

· We also use gestures to express enthusiasm and support.  Pittsburgh Steeler fans will know of the “Terrible Towel.”

· We use them to convey honor, as when we stand for our national anthem.

· We use them, like the old man, to show love.

Communion is, in a way, a gesture itself.  How so?

· By this gesture we show support for His church.  It says, like nothing else, “I belong in this church.”

· By this gesture we honor His name; no other name can command such honor.

· By this gesture we express our thanks for what He did at the cross; we remember His sacrifice.

· By this gesture we express our love for the lover of our souls, the one who first loved us.

The old man is gone home now, as is his lady love.  But we take Communion until Christ comes again, bringing with him all those who trust in Him—including The Bear and the lady he loves.

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