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Communion Meditations (2006)

Trifling With Simplicity

Originally delivered December 10

If there is any irresistible, stupid urge in the human species it is this:  tinkering with simplicity.

Consider, for a moment, that simple device known as a hammer.  There are hundreds of designs for the ordinary hammer; there are thousands of specialty versions.  A visit to one web auction site turned up a geologist’s pick, a curved claw hammer, a straight claw hammer, a lathing hatchet, a poll claw hatchet, a shingling hatchet, a broad head single bevel hatchet, a ball peen hammer (small), a sledge hammer, a splitting maul, a crate hammer, a cross peen hammer and a wooden mallet.  This does not include three varieties of hammer described by the sellers as being “unusual hammers.” 

The urge to make the simple into the complex—or at least the fancy—extends to the Lord’s Supper as well.  Its origins are detailed in the Old Testament and confirmed in the New Testament.  Its parts are simple:  unleavened bread and wine.  But we often substitute leavened bread (as being easier to tear a piece of) and grape juice (since Mr. Welch, of Welch’s Grape Juice, told us that the Scripture could not possibly mean wine).  It is served in all manners, including one church which had the elements served by dancers.

But see the elegant simplicity of our Lord in His choice of elements:

· Unleavened bread was chosen originally because of the haste of the departure of the Israelites.  The Christian knows this too; it is a reminder that this world is not my home.  Leaven (or yeast) is also the symbol of sin; the ancient Jew was to get rid of it at Passover. 

· Wine was chosen first for its blood like color.  But we can also see that it was probably the best antiseptic they had;  it kept indefinitely as well.  It is a fitting symbol of the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin, and brings us to eternal life.

So I must ask:  do you see the Lord’s Supper as a show?  Do you critique the meditation, get cranky about the music and think the whole thing poorly done?  He made this His memorial not so that you would be dazzled—but that you would remember.

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