The Saddest Place in the World (Communion Meditation)
Lee Magness, Christian Standard, 8/27/2006
On the coast of Ghana stands a fortress built to guard gold. Later the fortresss airless chambers were converted to store a different precious commodityslaves. In the same low-ceilinged spaces where gold was once heaped, human bodies were crowded and crampedsome sick, some dying, some painfully alive.
Amid this rectangle of rooms, with their human cargo waiting to be stacked in the dank holds of ships, was a whitewashed courtyard open to the warm sun and sea breezes of the beautiful Ghanaian coast. And in that courtyard stood a church where Christiansset free by Christ but now capturing and imprisoning and trading in human fleshgathered for worship. There they praised God, the Creator of all, and celebrated the meal that commemorated Jesus, the Savior of all.
There they worshiped, while all around them unspeakable human suffering, suffering of their own making, went on unabated. It is one of the saddest places in the world.
We sit here today praising our Creator and celebrating the liberating death of our Savior. But all around usand closer than we may knowis human suffering, possibly even suffering of our own making. To gather at this table oblivious to the suffering of our Savior would be a terrible travesty, but to gather at this table oblivious to the suffering of our fellow human beings would be a tragedy of like proportion. Their suffering may be financial or physical, social or psychological or spiritual. They may be enslaved by chains of their own making or by circumstances over which they have no control.
So we gather at this table remembering Jesus who lived and suffered and died and lived, not only because of us, but for us. And we gather at this table remembering that we who were once enslaved in the fortresses of sin and self and death now stand in the exhilarating freedom of salvation in Christ. And we gather at this table resolved to remember that we who have been liberated must live for the liberation, not the enslavement, of those around us.
We tell each other that anyone can write and present a 30, 60 120 minute Gospel message but it is harder to get to the point and sink the hook deep with the 2-3 minutes we have for Communion Meditation.
Well, the holy Spirit has spoken to us through Lee and He has found the right combination.