Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
When we speak of God’s Provision, which has been the theme of these Scripture readings for the past several months, the ultimate provision is of His Son to be our Savior, and from Jesus’ perspective, it was giving His own body and blood for us. In the 20 centuries since this event much has been written about all that it meant then and all that it means now for every believer. I don’t need to write another theological treatise! However, I do need to keep growing in my own appreciation of, gratitude for, and response to this incredible act on the part of my Creator. We celebrate this event regularly, though different groups adhere to different schedules. We do so every fourth Sunday, which means today. (Actually, I celebrate every morning as a part of my personal devotions.) That is all well and fitting, since Jesus commanded it, but there’s the little matter of familiarity breeding contempt. All too often we go through the motions (whether we call it Lord’s Supper or Communion) without really remembering Jesus, which Paul records Jesus as having said. (1 Corinthians 11:24-25 Paul was of course not present on the original occasion, but he talked many times with probably most of those who were, so we have no reason to doubt his account.) The Old Testament points out repeatedly that ritual is meaningless for its own sake. Liturgy has its uses, giving us an anchor in times of uncertainty, but when we fail to consider the meanings behind it, it dulls our souls, when God, though never changing, is always new. We need to ask God to give us a fresh revelation of Himself every time we celebrate, because there’s no way we can grasp all of Him at once, and besides, we forget!
This of course applies to me in spades. I was baptized over 60 years ago, so it would be hard to calculate how many times I have taken the bread and the cup. On top of that, God alone knows how many of those times were meaningful and how many were empty ritual. When I celebrate by myself, I state that I am renewing the commitment of my own body to Christ, even as I receive the bread as His body given for me. Even there, there is the risk of it being empty words. Sometimes I feel like I am a case study in James 1:22, being familiar with the Word but failing to put it into practice! I have neither the strength nor the wisdom to follow through fully on my own, so I am totally dependent on the grace and mercy of God. Thankfully, those are poured out in abundance! As a pastor, my message to the believers is that God’s grace and mercy are equally available to them, if they will only receive His provision.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed live out Your Word more and more consistently, so that Your will may me done in and through me more and more fully, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!