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Communion 2011


Originally scheduled for October 23

You have seen it often: the formal goodbye. It seems that human beings need a ceremony in which to say goodbye. It's a form of ritual; symbolic communication, which is the highest form of speech, is necessary. Sometimes it becomes a cliché; think of how many times you've heard the phrase, "getting a gold watch" to mean someone's retirement party. We do things that way.

Christ did the same thing with Passover. He took this last Passover with his disciples and used it to symbolize his departure. He knew that that night he would be betrayed, and the next day would bring his crucifixion. He knew that he was our atonement sacrifice, and therefore took the symbolism of Passover — the sacrificial lamb — and made it his own.

It's also true that human beings, when they part, want to have a tangible memory. We have pictures of those were no longer with us; we also have memorabilia (how many of us have dad's favorite watch, knife, tie tack or who knows what else living in our desk drawer?) Human beings seem to need something physical to remind them of the one who is no longer physically there.

Christ understood that too. He gave us the simple symbols of bread and wine as touch points for our human senses.

Finally, parting hurts most when we know it's a permanent. So, even if we are deluding ourselves, we promise each other "we'll see you again." The human soul rebels against the idea of a permanent parting. If you've ever been to the funeral of someone who was not a Christian you will see this desire displayed. When we know the parting is permanent, a piece of us is lost.

Christ knows that too. At the end of the atonement there is the resurrection. His disciples would see him again. And the Scripture promises to us that Christ will return again — and when he does, he will bring with him all those saints who are temporarily parted from us now. For the Christian, even death is a temporary parting. So as you take the bread and wine, remember this: He shall return.

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