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Communion 2011

War Memorial

Originally scheduled for April 10

One of the many pleasures of being a grandparent is taking her grandchildren to the park. The parks in our area often contain swings, playgrounds, fields to run on, and many other opportunities for children to play. In some of these parks you will find a series of paths; you can tell from the construction that they were built during the 1930s in that particular style that says, "Great Depression". Often enough, the paths will take you entirely around the park. It's fun to take your grandchildren to explore these paths.

If you do, it's likely enough that you will encounter — in a rather out-of-the-way spot — a war memorial. There seems to be a certain style to these things:

·        They point out the sacrifices of those who died in the war, which ever war that might be. Often enough, there will be a cannon dragged out of who knows what armory rusting in the sun.

·        The design of the memorial is intended to produce contemplation. You are supposed to remember those who died; you are supposed to remember what they sacrificed for. Perhaps, even, you are to contemplate whether or not the current war is worth the sacrifice.

·        The memorial is designed to last — usually, there is a plaque of bronze listing the names of those who fell. It's usually mounted on a stone monument. Those who built it want you to remember.

Communion is a memorial too. It has much the same characteristics as the war memorial in the park:

·        It points out the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross, so that you might have salvation from sin. In the elements of communion we see that sacrifice; the bread, his body and the fruit of the vine, his blood.

·        It is designed to cause contemplation. We are told to examine ourselves and repent. We are also to contemplate his sacrifice, and the great love it shows to us.

·        By his command, we are to do this until he comes again — a lasting memorial until the end of time.

If you go to the park it is just possible you may see a veteran at that memorial. It's usually a very quiet scene; you may detect tears in his eyes. Some of the names on the bronze are his friends; indeed, they might even be those who died beside him. Don't look around at your neighbors; some of them have tears in their eyes this morning. They are examining themselves, repenting – and remembering.

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