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Communion 2011

Practice Like You Play

Originally scheduled for July 17

Would you like to learn all about men? The easy way is quite simple: manage a Little League team. The boys on the team are just miniatures of the man you will encounter later. Their hearts, wants and needs are very similar to those of grown men, just better disguised.

I bring this to your attention to remind you of what you're Little League coach said: "you play like you practice, you practice like you play." In the communion we are about to receive some of you will be practicing. You won't be serious about it, because you think there's no need. But consider well what that really means:

·        You sin against the body of Christ. That means you offend the unity of the church, for the body of Christ is the church. Your actions would then tend to split the church.

·        You sin against the blood of Christ. That means that you take lightly the blood that he shared at Calvary.

You may think that if something important came up, you could always do it right. Play like you practice, practice like you play.

How do you do this? Simply put, we are to judge ourselves before taking communion. Judgment is going to happen; the easiest way for it to happen is for us to judge ourselves. In that way we examine our own sins, and we repent of them. But do not neglect another form of examination; the sins of others against you. It is quite clear from the Scripture that your being forgiven depends completely on your willingness to forgive others. So as you examine yourself, think of those who have offended against you – and bring your forgiveness to the Lord.

If you want to do it the hard way, do nothing. The Lord will then judge you. He will take such steps as are necessary to get your attention and correct your behavior. This is much less pleasant than examining yourself. It's also an indication that you do not take communion seriously, or are just lazy. But when he disciplines you, be sure to listen carefully. He is doing this for your own good, and you should accept it.

For if you do not accept his discipline, tragedy awaits. Just going to church each week doesn't make you a real Christian. You may find yourself condemned with those who do not believe and defy the Lord. Defy the Lord? Yes, ignoring his judgment is defying the Lord. So I ask you: examine yourself, in all seriousness, and seek forgiveness and forgiving.

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