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Communion Meditations (2013)

A Few Laws


Originally scheduled for August 18

In one way or another, various politicians have pronounced that the United States is just a few laws away from becoming a utopia. For those not familiar with the word, a utopia is a society possessing perfect qualities. The politicians vary, of course, on just what laws those might be. Some want to regulate ecology, others economics. If politics won’t do it, we have the options of religion and science and technology. Utopia dreaming can be conservative, or liberal or just plain weird. It goes back as far as Plato, and there are no signs of utopianism letting up.

The Christian view is that this is not going to be successful. We live in a fallen world; each of us is a sinner. In a sense, we had utopia in the Garden of Eden — well, Adam and Eve had it. Being what we are, we ruined it quite promptly. That’s the problem with utopia; as long as man is sinful, utopia won’t last. It’s also a pretty good bet that utopia cannot be man-made; can you make something perfect with imperfect implements?

The problem is sin; the answer is the Cross. Only in the atonement of Christ do we have the cure for sin. That is why we celebrate Communion. It is a reminder to us each and every time we partake of the sacrifice our Lord made so that we might be free from the curse of sin. It is by his body (the bread) and his blood (the cup) that we are saved. It is therefore very fitting that we should remember such a sacrifice.

Utopia? There is one specimen of utopia given to us in the Scriptures. In passages in the Old Testament, but most especially in the New Testament book of Revelation, we see described for us the New Heaven, New Earth. This is the ultimate expression of utopia. This one will work, because it is not man-made. God will make this one; perfect implements making a perfect utopia.

When will this happen? When Christ returns, of course. That is why we celebrate Communion “until he comes.” Communion looks back to the sacrifice of Christ at the cross, but also looks forward to the coming of the New Heaven, New Earth. We take it not only in memory, but in anticipation.

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