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Communion Meditations (2013)

Gold Mining


Originally scheduled for November 3

Many years ago a local amusement park in Southern California offered — for an additional charge — the experience of panning for gold, just like the 49ers did in the nineteenth century. The experience is long since gone, the price of gold having climbed so much as to put it out of reach. There was a sluice with flowing water in which gold bearing sand had been placed. You were given a gold pan — which resembled nothing so much as a pie pan — and such assistance as might seem necessary depending upon your age. The result was a small vial of gold flakes, less than 100th of an ounce. But it was gold, so you took it home and put that vial in a safe place. Somewhere, in the clutter of this house, there is a small vial with a microscopic amount of gold in it.

Have you ever wondered why gold has remained a commodity of such great value over the years? We find it used as a source of money and value in biblical times, and it continues to be so to the present day. What’s so special about gold that he keeps this position?

·         Gold does not corrode or decay with time. This is a property almost unique among metals. So if you stash it away today it will look the same a hundred years from now.

·         Curiously, gold’s value depends on its rarity but also on its availability. It is rare enough to be valuable, but common enough that it can be found in most areas.

·         One other valuable characteristic gold is this: it is easily shaped into objects which meet the tastes and needs of differing human beings.

I bring this to your attention because of its parallels to the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ.

·         Like gold, the atonement is eternal. Christ’s sacrifice was made once and is applicable to all of mankind. Its value does not change as the years go by.

·         Gold is both rare and common. Salvation has the same characteristics. It is rare because it can be found in only one place — the atonement of Christ. There is no other name by which we can be saved. But it is common, also: Christ died for all. The entrance criterion is, “whosoever will.”

·         Just as gold is easily shaped to individual needs, so it is that all types of sinners can be shaped into saints. The power of repentance and being born again overwhelms whatever particular sins you may have committed and turns you into a child of God.

In communion we celebrate and remember these things. His sacrifice is shown to us in the body and blood, symbolized by the bread and wine. There is only one atonement, but it is open to all for salvation. It does not matter what kind of sinner you are; what matters is what a Savior he is.

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