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Communion 2011


Originally scheduled for March 20

Lately it has become fashionable for the Lord’s Supper to be set to music, so to speak.  The band must play, the speaker must speak.  At all costs the Christian must not be left alone with his thoughts.  Thinking is dangerous.

Those of an older generation, however, will remember silence at Communion.  In more formal times it seemed fitting to do so.  Perhaps we can see what might be behind that old fashioned procedure.  Just what are the uses of silence?

Disciplining the immature.  Kindergarten teachers will recognize the technique.  If little children are hushed into silence first they are more amenable to listening to discipline.  A kindergarten teacher should always maintain a cool self-control – which is not particularly easy.  “Shushing” the children makes it easier at times.  God does much the same thing.  Though it is fashionable to preach the Word at high decibels, most Christians know the still, small voice of the mind as their instructor, too.

Preparing to hear.  You’ve heard it at sporting events, business meetings and many other places.  Someone stands up and yells, “OK everybody, be quiet, Mr. Bigshot has something to tell us.”  It’s hard to make yourself understood, let alone persuade, when the audience is whispering in private conversation.  The preachers will tell you:  they’d much rather have you listen to a poor sermon in silence than sit there and critique a good sermon aloud.  Silence prepares you to hear instruction.

Showing respect.  In Great Britain, every year on November 11th (Armistice Day) at 11:00 AM the nation observes a two minute silence.  This is to show respect to those who died in Britain’s wars.  The original reason for this was to respect those who died in World War I, which was a deadly experience.  Among British men of all ages, one in sixteen died in that war – a horrific sacrifice by the nation.  You can see something of the same effect when someone says, “Let us pray…”

Put away the clamor of life this morning, then, and come to the Lord’s table in silence.  If you are new to Christ, come in silence so that you might accept the discipline of joy in new life.  Come prepared to hear whatever the Lord might have to say to you, however he might say it.  Come in silent respect, knowing that it was his sacrifice of his sinless life that has purchased eternal life for you.

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