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Communion 2011

City Council

Originally scheduled for July 31

The work of a city council, especially in a city the size of Los Angeles, should be concerned with things which are important, perhaps controversial and partisan, and often enough expensive.  But this does not apply to all the things the Los Angeles City Council does. One of its more common duties is to issue a variety of proclamations. This function may have hit its low point when the Council issued a proclamation commending the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. As you might guess, they were a musical group — of sorts. What possessed the city Council to command them I do not know; but the proclamation itself was done in the usual elaborate ornamental style. From all appearances you would think that this was something of great importance.

The Christian may not know it but there is an element of proclamation in the Lord's Supper as well. The very existence of this ritual proclaims at least three important things:

·        It proclaims the perfect sacrifice of Christ. By its existence it says that the death of Christ was unique.

·        It proclaims our unworthiness. To say that his sacrifice is perfect is to say that everyone else is imperfect.

·        It proclaims the depth of the love that God has for his children.

If we proclaim his death, we must also proclaim the resurrection. It is the central miracle of Christianity; without it, the faith makes no sense. But with the resurrection we also proclaim that Christ has power over the grave — something that no one else has. We can partake of that power because of the grace of God; we therefore proclaim redemption by grace.

If we proclaim his death and resurrection, then we must also proclaim the sure and certain hope of his return. Christ made it clear: death, burial, resurrection and then his ascension — to be followed by his return. When? None of us knows. But we do know some things about his return:

·        First, we know that he will bring with him the saints who have passed on before us. They will return in bodily form, as he has taught us. That alone would make this a wonderful and glorious time.

·        He returns to judge the living and the dead; not just punishment, but also for reward.

·        In some way not known to us yet, he will create a new heaven and a new Earth. The fundamental order of nature is somehow to be changed.

The City Council's proclamation was written on parchment paper, in a flowing calligraphic script, with gold accents and seal. Christ's proclamation is written in the ceremony of communion and in the conduct of the Christian. Therefore, when you partake, partake in a worthy manner. Remember what it is you are telling the world when you do this: you are proclaiming his death and all that that implies.

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