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:
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.
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.