In big cities, you see a lot of different things. Sometimes these things are *really* different – like a bicycle painted all white. Tires, seat, handlebars, the whole thing painted white. They are called ghost bikes.

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You might see them in random places along the roads, these white ghost bikes, chained to a tree or a signpost or a fence. They are not art, and they are not protests. These white bikes are memorials. You see, everywhere that you find one of these ghost bikes, that’s where somebody died while riding a bicycle. The ghost bike is a memorial to the one who died.  It might have been put there by their family, or their friends, or their biking club.

It’s a symbol, a memorial, of a tragic event that happened. A real person died there.  Not a statistic, not a trend or an average.  A person stopped living, right at that spot.

As Christians, we have our own symbol that is a public memorial of the death of a real person – we have the cross. Some of us wear jewelry with a cross on it, or have a Bible case with a cross, or have something in our homes with a cross. We have a cross on the front wall of our church.  All of that is a good thing – that memorial, that reminder.

And like the bicycles, the cross is empty.  Not because the person – Jesus Christ – is dead and gone.  The cross is empty because Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. Hallelujah!

The cross, though it is an important symbol of Jesus’ suffering, and though we are reminded to take up our cross daily, the cross is not the focus of our faith.  I’m reminded of Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he said “For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. The cross is in there, but the most important thing – Jesus – remains the focus.

As we take the bread and the juice, and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, let us be careful that we are honoring a person and not a symbol. Let’s pray.

Father God, thank You for the gift of Jesus. Thank You for the gift of salvation. And thank You for making it real, and not just symbolic. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(communion meditation 6/25/17.  Photo cropped from original by Royston Rascals CC BY-NC 2.0)

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