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Communion Meditations (2012)


Originally scheduled for May 27

Your author lives next door to a large university. Every year my wife and I get to experience the sights and sounds of graduation at close hand. The university in question is in the state of California, and the weather is warm. The sites are colorful:

·         Every coed, it seems, is required to wear a short sundress and 4 inch high heels. Summer comes early in California. Mom, on the other hand, is more sensible. The campus is large and the walk is long; it's not unusual to see the coed barefoot and mom carrying the 4 inch heels.

·         Flowers and balloons seem to be completely necessary. One balloon is not sufficient; the amount of helium per graduate seems adequate to fill a small zeppelin. You just hope that they don't tie the balloons to little brother and watch him float away.

·         Of course, there are also the photos and souvenirs. You have to have the T-shirt that lists all the names of the graduates. You also need all possible combinations of friends in photographs, all with excited smiles.

Graduation is an Alpha and Omega. It's a time of new beginnings; perhaps a new job, or onto a new school for graduate work — but most often a newfound independence. For most of these graduates leave the university to go to life; they leave behind a social structure whose comfort they may not realize. It's also a time of endings. Would you ever see these friends again? That question is clear. What some don't realize is that soon they will say, "Once, I was a scholar." The intellectual life of the University dies and is replaced by the mundane and the every day. It's hard to hold a philosophical discussion over diapers and dishes.

It is not possible to hold the graduation without playing "Pomp and Circumstance." There are, after all, certain rules and traditions. When we hold a ceremony, we hold to those traditions. It is by unchanging ceremony that we mark the changing life.

Communion, too, is a ritual marking transition.

·         It marks the great transition of history: from the law of the Old Testament to the grace of the New Testament. In this we see the way in which God has changed how he deals with mankind, and the benefits we derive from that.

·         For the individual Christian, it marks the transition from the old life to the new life. It marks the time that you went from being self-centered and self ruled to being a disciple of the Lord.

·         Communion looks forward to the next great transition: the coming of Christ. We partake of communion "until He comes." The old reality in which we now live will give way to the new heaven and the new Earth.

Graduation speakers encourage the graduates to look within themselves and see what has changed. It is fitting to do this at communion as well. Examine yourself; bring your hopes and your failures to God and remember the great transition at the Cross.

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