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Communion 2011

Hadrian's Wall

Originally scheduled for November 20

Tourists in the northern part of Great Britain may discover the existence of Hadrian's Wall. This is a Roman era fortification begun in A.D. 122. It stretches across the length of Great Britain, and consists of a wall buttressed by fortified towers every mile or so. It served a number of purposes:

·        First, it was a fortification. The Roman Empire could not match the number of soldiers in the native tribes to the North. The wall help compensate for that.

·        As was the custom of the time, the fortification would include gateways at which officials would collect import and export taxes and other customs duty as well.

·        Perhaps its most important use was this: it provided the definitive marker between civilization and the barbarians. If you lived on the south side, you are civilized. On the north side, nothing but barbarians. At least, that's how the Romans saw it.

The modern equivalents to Hadrian's Wall are still with us. Fortifications are rather out of fashion at the moment, being subject to precision munitions. But we still maintain structures at which we collect customs and process immigration. It is not likely that this will disappear soon.

One thing which is almost certain to endure until the Lord's return, however, we still mark boundaries. We still have the need to separate people into their particular groups.

Communion is just such a marker.

·        By it Christian proclaims himself to be a member of the church, a fellow Christian. It says he has crossed the invisible line from sinner to saved.

·        By it a Christian also proclaims Jesus Christ. Joining the church is not like joining a country club. The admission requirements are much lower, and the benefits far greater.

·        By it the Christian proclaims hope. To take communion is to explicitly proclaim that you have the hope of the resurrection of the dead. You have that hope because Christ has returned from the grave.

Communion is the boundary marker of the church. Think carefully; examine yourself. Your actions may proclaim you to be on the Christian side of the marker; does your life make the same proclamation?

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