The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. – Psalm 119:130
This morning at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church we’ll be celebrating The Lord’s Supper. It’s an interesting concept, and probably one of the most powerful elements of Christian Worship.
When Jesus had that last dinner party with his friends, the night he was betrayed, the entire occasion resonated with a deep gravitas. This was The Last Supper. This was the final opportunity Jesus had to go over the highlights one last time. This was crucial.
So Jesus seized the moment – he always did – and picked up the most common yet profound symbol at hand to help his disciples remember the heart of his message. It was bread. Bread – as Jesus had pointed out on many occasions – is the essential food. “
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:32-25
“I have food to eat that you do not know about,” Jesus had said earlier. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” (John 4)
Bread is essential to life, and Jesus wants us to remember that he is essential to life too.
Then – at the Last Supper – the Great Teacher picked up the cup, filled on that occasion with wine. “Drink this and remember! And whenever you drink, think about how my life is poured out for you, so that you can truly live!”
Jesus used what was at hand – he always did. He used powerful metaphors to make it easy for his followers to remember the truth behind the idea. Water is living water when Jesus gives it to us – we never have to be thirsty again. Bread is the bread of life when we follow Jesus, and that’s enough to sustain us. Wine represents the lengths Jesus goes to for us, the bread broken shows how he held nothing back, how he still holds nothing back.
Let’s not make communion something it’s not. It’s a practical demonstration that God is with us; it’s a rich metaphor; it’s a mnemonic device; it’s a beautiful reminder that we are all forgiven, all dependent on grace, all equally loved into the kingdom.
The mystery, the deep spirituality of it, comes not from the hands of a priest but from the hearts of the people. “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”
We stand in line, together; we receive grace, without distinction; we take the bread and the wine, without question as to our worthiness; we remember that the only thing that counts is how we respond to the amazing love that Jesus offers. “That they may be one, as we are one” – Jesus prayed, “I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17)
Don’t miss it. You are welcome, regardless. I’ll see you in church – DEREK