Friday, April 24, 2009

True Communion

As a pastor and traveling speaker I am always on the lookout for great illustrations. One of the ones I like the most is a story about the former Confederate, General Robert E. Lee.

Now although Lee had fought for the South during the American Civil War, he was not a fan of slavery and had set his own slaves free several years before the war. Was he a racist? Probably, but no more so than most people in both the North and the South during this time period. What truly sticks out about Lee, though, in my mind was his deep Christian faith and mindset. There is probably no more telling illustration of this than in an incident that supposedly took place shortly after the war was over.

Lee was attending a church service in Washington, D.C. Also attending were people from a variety of backgrounds, and unlike in many of our churches today the congregation was evidently racially mixed. As fate would have it, when it was time to take communion Lee walked down the aisle at the same time as a black man. Both knelt together for the sacred ceremony. Some people must have been astonished at the sight because afterward at least one onlooker asked him "How could you do that?" Lee's reply hits at the very heart of what Christianity is all about. "My friend," Lee replied, "all ground is level beneath the cross."

When we get to heaven we are going to be surrounded by men and women from all classes and colors who are just as saved by grace as we are. Wouldn't it be wonderful to break through the barriers of race and culture among believers today and start on those eternal relationships now?



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