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Communion 2011


Originally scheduled for February 6

Unless you are an avid collector, you are probably unaware of the number of commemorative coins issued by the United States Mint. It seems that Congress regularly authorizes the issue of such coins to honor various people, events, and places. That list of places includes some familiar ones, such as Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. Others are less known, such as the National Visitors Center in Washington DC. Some of the events are quite famous, such as various Civil War commemoratives. But did you know that we have a coin that commemorates the National Botanic Gardens? People range from the famous (such as Abraham Lincoln) to various anonymous groups, such as women who have served in the Armed Forces. You can get these coins in a variety of materials, including silver and gold.

Human beings, it seems, need something to symbolize their memories. Even the earliest of cultures had something resembling a gravestone. Often enough, the Memorial item is in and of itself a rather expensive thing — gold is running over $1000 an ounce as of this writing, and we are issuing gold coins as commemoratives. It is as if we were saying to ourselves, "don't forget this."

Communion likewise is a commemorative. The place it commemorates is rather a dusty one; it's a small hill just outside the old city of Jerusalem. Yet we have many hymns that speak of Calvary; we remember. The event that we are remembering was a common form of criminal execution of the time; the locals would have seen it as ordinary. We see it for what it is: the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Most important of all, we commemorate the person of this event: Jesus, the Christ.

Commemorative coins exist to bring your memory back to the surface; when you see them, you remember. Communion does the same thing for the Christian, so that we might remember the sacrifice of our Lord that brought us salvation.

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