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Communion Meditations (2013)

Treasure Map


Originally scheduled for October 6

It is a staple of Hollywood fiction: the pirate treasure map. The movie version owes much to its original incarnation by Robert Louis Stevenson, and usually has these characteristics:

·         Somehow, the treasure is always on an island. It’s as if pirates just can’t possibly bury their treasure anywhere on a continent. It seems they have to put it on an island, and then go away and die or something.

·         Inevitably, “X” marks the spot of the treasure — but pirates always seem to include some other clues as well. A favorite is to use a dead body pointing to the spot.

·         Likewise, when you get to the island (after much swashbuckling) you find that there is some additional mystery to solve.

The whole point of the map, of course, is to let the hero get the treasure. Let’s suppose that’s you with the map in hand. Just what’s going on here?

·         As a Christian, have you considered that you have absolutely no right to this treasure whatsoever? It really belongs to some poor soul who worked hard to get it.

·         By any test, it does not belong to you. Not only are you taking it, you’ll probably have to stick a cutlass in somebody to get it.

·         Which, of course, implies that you will have opposition in getting this done. The opposition will have no scruples whatsoever about preventing you from getting the treasure.

Your objective, of course, is then to live happily ever after — on somebody else’s money.

But… Isn’t that just like salvation?

·         It’s not something you worked for and earned; it’s something that Christ earned for you.

·         It’s not yours by right; it’s yours by gift.

·         Even at that, you will encounter opposition in getting it; and opposition with no scruples whatsoever about preventing you from doing so.

But the objective is very much similar — you want to live happily ever after (that is, eternally) on the fortune that was given you.

Communion is the memorial of that gift. The bread and the cup are to remind you of the sacrifice Christ made so that you might have salvation. It reminds you that your salvation is a free gift of God, given at the price of the life of Jesus himself. Take the time to contemplate the greatness of what you have been given and the cost paid for it.

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