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Communion Meditations (2013)

Earthly Gain


Originally scheduled for October 20

Great-grandfather did not go to church expecting to gain anything more that he already had; he went there to give thanks for it.

-Eric Sloane

Much has changed since great-grandfather’s time. The contentment of his age has given way to the idea that the church is a source of material gain the Christian. The most visible aspect of this is what is referred to as “prosperity gospel.” The idea is that God wants to bless you; but you have to trust him with your money first — so send in a large contribution. This should raise suspicious eyebrows.

But prayer in the ordinary sense is often used the same way. Often enough, our prayers consist of a long list of wants and desires, clearly indicating that what I want comes before “thy will be done.” We seldom ask what it is that we should ask for. Just what is it that we should desire in life? May I suggest that that question is best put off until we have answered what it is we should do first in prayer.

How often we skip over thanksgiving to go to our list of wants and complaints. The truth is that, materially speaking, Americans are extraordinarily blessed. One student complained to this author that all those fellows with cardboard signs along the road side were fakes — they all made a good earning out of the donations of passersby. If you believe that, then when you go home today I suggest you go into your bedroom, alone, get down on your knees and thank Almighty God that you live in the United States of America. America — the land where even the beggars are rich. Give thanks for this; then give thanks for the abundant blessing you have.

But their greater things than these which we should be thankful. At communion we celebrate the greatest of our gifts.

·         We should be thankful for the incarnation of our Lord. It is an astounding descent for him to come from heaven to earth that we might live.

·         Of course, at communion, we should be thankful for the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord — the basis of our faith.

·         Finally, we should be thankful for the promise that he will return, bringing with him the saints gone before us.

Communion is the time we should examine ourselves and give thanks for the greatest gifts ever given to mankind. Thanks be to God, from whom all blessings flow.

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