In Person

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We too often fall into the trap of thinking that a description is the same thing as an explanation. If confronted with the inadequacy of our description, we resort (oddly) to a more detailed and “scientific” description. But this makes no sense.

When we let go of an object, we readily assume that our scientific description of what happens is an explanation of it. But gravity is not something that pulls objects to the ground, but rather a name we give to our description of things falling to the ground. If confronted with the question as to why objects at a distance appear to act upon each other, the only honest answer is that we have no idea.

This is because God governs the world. It is in Christ that all things hold together. The world is not governed by a set of impersonal natural laws. Our tendency to think that the laws are running the show, with God off in the distance, has robbed us of a great deal.

And it has robbed us at this Table also. Why is this a blessing? It is not because we are being acted upon by certain spiritual forces, but rather because God has promised to meet us here. And the God who has promised to meet us here has promised to do so in the Person of Jesus Christ, who is the visible image of the invisible Father. In other words, we are encouraged and strengthened here because of our relationship with a divine Person, and not because we have figured out the right theological formula which will get things done.

This meal is a fellowship meal, it is a meeting of persons, and it is therefore a personal event. This is why we are encouraged to discern the Lord’s body in the persons around us—whatever problems we might have with them, we don’t tend to think of them as impersonal forces. Many errors concerning this Table are attempts to retreat from the personalism of koinonia into the impersonalism of theological metaphysics. Let us therefore meet with God in Person.

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