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Communion Meditations (2012)


A doctor once revealed a great secret of medicine: "surgery is nothing but a friendly attack with a knife." Seen from that perspective, we might ask why people have surgery at all. The answer is fairly obvious; we do it because the alternatives are worse. In other words, the suffering we go through to have the surgery gains us something. Sometimes that's a positive gain (like having a baby) and sometimes it's negative (to get rid of the tumor). Very occasionally we have a different reason for surgery: love.

Permit me an example. A young lady, suffering from cystic fibrosis, received the transplant of two lobes of her lungs. The surgeons literally went in, removed one of her lungs, and replaced it with the donor lung from her father. The other lung transplant came from her sister. We can certainly see why the recipient would want the operation; cystic fibrosis attacks the lungs. But I think it is clear that her father and her sister had a very different motive. Their motive for having this surgery was quite different: love. Consider, then, that love is a cause which may motivate you to suffer pain.

It is that motive of love of the caused Christ to suffer on the Cross. It certainly could not be characterized as a "friendly attack." It was in fact an execution reserved for criminals. But there is no question about the willingness of Jesus Christ to suffer that penalty. He prayed that it might not happen that way. He asked his Father to relieve him of this pain. The answer was no.

So then Christ suffered for us out of obedience to the Father — and out of love for us. Permit me a simple question: how do you think the girl who received the lung transplants feels about her father and her sister? Undoubtedly there is gratitude; more than that, there is a loving memory. She's not going to say thank you just one time. It's going to be something that is a permanent attitude for the rest of her life.

This brings us to the point: just what is your permanent attitude towards Jesus Christ? It's a question that comes up every time you take communion. You are told to take it in a "worthy manner." Whatever else that might help hearts this is mean, it certainly includes a confession of sin, repentance and then gratitude for the Savior who will take you into his heart, sins at all. Reflect on these things, and search your heart to see if your attitude reflects his sacrifice.

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