Reverent Communion

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Our culture has lost a sense of the sacred. For decades, commercials have advertised new television shows as “irreverent.” Irreverence is often prized not only in entertainment but as a key component in our freedom. Mark Twain once said, “Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense.” It is part of our world. And it is no longer a privilege or a right, but a virtue protected by laws guaranteeing freedom of speech.

Here we can turn to modern expressions of unbelief or anti-biblical or anti-Christian sentiment. We can see examples of irreverence in our world by taking a quick look around us. In 2009, advertisements on buses in England in featured signs promoting atheism. One of them read, “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life.” This sign clearly expressed the idea that God tries to exercise an inordinate degree of control over people’s lives. In 2011, a sign carried by two women at a pro-choice protest march read, if Mary had had an abortion we wouldn’t be in this mess.” Their blasphemy was unmistakable.

Believers must take care to ensure that the world does not exercise any undue influence in shaping who we are. James said, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). The irreverence valued by the world has no place in the church.

During communion, we celebrate the fact that God loves his people enough that he sent his son to die for us. This should immediately give us a sense of our nobility and worth. God created humanity as the apex of his creation and as the only creatures fashioned in his image (Genesis 1:26-27). It also means that we celebrate our freedom from the powers of sin and death—the two things humanity has been trying to escape for thousands of years. They have been the indefatigable opponents of mankind since the very beginning, and through Christ, we have victory over both of them.

When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we reflect upon the great and terrible work of Christ on the cross. If we’re supposed to be proclaiming the Lord’s death (1 Corinthians 11:26)—at once the greatest single miscarriage of human justice and the greatest act of God’s deliverance for humankind—doesn’t it deserve our attention and respect?