Face-to-Face: A Communion Meditation

Over the course of the last year in my seminary studies, I have had the opportunity to do something new: take courses online. While this is not the traditional way of “doing education” and it does have its downfalls (e.g. not having the advantage of meeting with the professor and being able to discuss the curriculum face-to-face), there are ways around those issues (e.g. you can email one another, chat with each other online or use the telephone). Similarly, another problem is that you do not get to meet your classmates face-to-face but you only get to know them by name.

Now, I have to admit, I like the online courses. And while it was a completely different way of “doing school” than I had ever done before, it was actually quite convenient for me at times. Yet, if I had two compare the two ways of conducting education, I would have to say that I favor the “in the classroom” experience the most.

However, I recently had something rather neat take place with this whole online study business. Let me explain. For the last year, I have been studying the Greek language (my Greek courses were the ones I took online). In that online class, one of the options us students had was to do the course work completely on our own or to join a team (of about 3 or 4 people) and work with each other throughout the year. We would email our work to the other team members, they would critique or affirm it and then we would meet online once a week to discuss our findings. It sounds a little complicated but it really was not.

Anyways, my team consisted of three other members beside myself. One of the members lived in Grand Rapids, MI, the other in Lexington, KY and still the other in Orlando, FLA. Every Friday around Noon, we would meet each other online and discuss the work for that week. Well, after the year was completed and our course finished, it was kind of odd. Here, I had been meeting with these people for an entire year but still didn’t really know them; I had never met them in person (with the exception of the one living in Lexington). Again, it was such a strange feeling that I experienced as we concluded our studies with one another.

Well, recently, something great happened: I got to meet my classmate from Florida! We went and had lunch together, chatted and I finally got to put a face with the name I knew. Of course, the Kris (that was his name) that I had imagined in my head looked and sounded nothing like I had imagined.

This whole occurrence kind of led me to reflect on Paul’s statement in 1st Corinthians 13. There, the apostle says, “When completeness comes, what is in part disappears…For now we see in a mirror dimly; then we will see Him face-to-face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.” Here, Paul describes his yearning to see Jesus Christ face-to-face; something he will finally see when Christ returns. At that moment, he will no longer feel like he “incompletely” knows Christ because he will know Him fully—just as Christ knows him fully right now.

For Paul, Christ’s return is, in some ways, similar to my experience with my classmate Kris. Through my studying and conversing with Kris, I got to know him and his interests; I got to know his heart and his passion. Yet, because I never got to see him face-to-face, I always felt like something was missing. When I finally met him, it was an exciting time and quite fun. Well, Paul suggests in the verses above that even though he knows Christ, Christ’s interests, His heart and His passion, he will not “fully” know or experience Him until He returns.

As we gather around the Lord’s Table today, our memories of the passion events take us back to the past. Yet, those same events also point us to the future; when Christ will return. And it will be at that moment, that face-to-face moment that we will be filled with excitement, exhilaration and joy; we will rejoice, celebrate and have an incredible time. Today, when you partake of the Lord’s Supper, center your heart and mind on seeing your Lord’s face; seeing it in painful agony upon the cross and seeing it in beautiful glory when He returns. For we have the promise that as believers, we will see Him face-to-fae. Amen.

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