COUNTING THE COST OF REDEMPTION – A Communion Meditation
by P.F. Caruso
My wife and I like to watch some of the home renovation and restoration shows on HGTV, Magnolia and Discovery+. When we were living in Texas we were living that life, taking on a full house renovation on a limited budget and in what we could laughingly refer to as “spare time.”
We never borrowed money, never over-extended our plan, and always tried to do things in phases so we were not living in a constant state of construction and disarray. Of course, this required a lot of planning, conversation and learning as we went. We didn’t have a budget number for the entire house; we just bought what we needed as we went, or as the bank balance recovered.
The shows we watch now kind of blow our minds, with the size of the budget already established, when for us it was “pay as you go,” shop as wisely and frugally as possible, and then discover the total cost at the end.
We also never had a blueprint or professionally-produced plans, so there was a lot of measuring and remeasuring and discussing (not cussing though!), along with some thoughtful and respectful debate and give-and-take to get to agreement.
One of the shows we like features two guys who flip houses for a living. They’re a lot like the two of us – one good with construction, the other with an eye for design, though there’s some overlap. But because they’re essentially betting using their own money, figuring out the cost in advance of purchasing the building is pretty important. They do as thorough a walkthrough as possible to determine what the problems are, what they can do cosmetically without spending a ton of money, assess what their “all-in” budget is and, using neighborhood comps, figure out what sale price they have to get in order to make a nice profit.
Before the beginnings of the earth and the heavens, the Creator sketched out – using the fulness of his unlimited knowledge – how the project would unfold. The intricacy of the massive scope – what we would know as the “macro” of the cosmos that keeps planets in balance, stars from colliding, and utter chaos from destroying the universe – all this was designed.
And the “micro” of the smallest, most infinitesimal matter and life forms was predetermined in order to sustain all existence and the continuance of all life and matter, in formulas that are still a mystery to those who pursue science honestly as seekers of ultimate truth.
And somewhere in the midst of all this detail, the Creator in his wisdom saw with certainty that, though it all was “very good,” as Genesis chapter 1 recounts, it was not going to remain perfect.
The houses the men inspect were once, in some cases at least, stunning and beautiful and creative and seemingly perfect. But through time and neglect and normal decay they became ugly, outdated, corrupted. So it was with God’s crowning jewel of all creation – human life.
He knew, in advance, that a renovation, a restoration, a costly project would be required to make the caretakers of his treasured creation perfect again.
I don’t pretend to know how he worked out the cost of the project, but we do know what it was. It was the price of blood – but not just any blood. It was the cost of one single human life – a perfect life – the purest blood ever spilled onto the ground.
That was the budget. Exactly that, no more and no less. The Creator paid the price himself through the blood of his perfect Son to turn us from rags to riches, from shameful to unashamed, from the stench of death to the fragrance of new life.
This moment we call “communion”, as often as we enter into it, reminds us of the price, and what it took to give us value again. Let’s resolve to do our best to never take it lightly or thoughtlessly.
Communion Table by Nigel Wynter