It was a perfect evening. Friends gathered around the table to enjoy a feast and celebrate the holiday. This tightly knit band of brothers had been working together for a few years now. At this point, they had some great stories to tell. The mood was festive. The wine flowed freely, the food was delicious, and everyone was having a great time.
They hadn’t enjoyed a night like this in a while. It was great to sit back and relax after all of the conflict they had been experiencing recently. This dinner was exactly what they needed, and tonight was the night to celebrate.
Nobody was prepared for what was about to happen.
An announcement was made that shattered the atmosphere. He told them that this would be the last time they ate and drank together. He was going away and they couldn’t come with him. Worse still, someone in their ranks had betrayed him. He was running out of time and he needed to give them all some vital instructions.
Before giving them the details of what was to come, he picked up a piece of bread and broke it apart. He passed it around and told them to eat it and remember him. Then he picked up a glass of wine and told them to drink it and remember him.
Centuries later, we continue this practice. We call it Holy Communion. Each church has their own way of carrying out this solemn act of remembrance. Some churches exercise this practice every week. Some only do it once a season. Some congregations offer a chalice from which to drink wine, others serve grape juice in tiny plastic cups.
No matter the ritual, the emblems are the same. We have bread to represent the body of Christ that was broken for us, and we have a drink to represent the blood of Christ poured out for us. I’ve partaken of communion in a variety of ways. What amazes me is that every time it is offered, the entire atmosphere shifts. Silence and solemnity fall, and reverential music is played. Quiet prayers are offered up, scriptures are read, and we all consume what has been offered.
Recently, I have come to wonder if this is how Jesus wanted us to remember Him. An excitement has gripped me and I’ve come to see this sacred event from another perspective.
Bread. Wine. Community. What if Jesus meant for communion to be a daily practice? What if He intended for us to remember Him in the most practical way, while doing the most common activity among humanity?
Here is what I think. I think that Jesus was telling His disciples that every time they sat down to a meal and ate bread and drank wine together, He wanted them to pause and remember Him. He wanted them to be reminded of His sacrifice every single time they consumed bread or wine. After all, He did promise to be in the midst of us anytime two or more of us are gathered in His name.
I think that Jesus wants our awareness of His sacrifice to be as commonplace as a shared meal among our fellow believers. Maybe, he wants us to shift our mealtime focus from compulsory prayers of muttered thanks for the food before us, and instead offer a heartfelt praise for the sacrifice that He made for us.
Imagine if we had a genuine outpouring of gratitude and praise at every meal we shared. Can you imagine the impact that would have on your life? Imagine how that would shift your perspective. It would change your life!
I could be wrong, and maybe the somber ritual at church was the intent of Jesus all along, but I can’t help but wonder. Regardless, I intend to change my perspective. I intend to remember Him in these small moments.
I will sit among my friends, and understand that Jesus is indeed at that table with us. I will eat my bread with praise. I will lift my glass with thanks. I will remember my Jesus as I enjoy the life that He has given me. I will love Him more deeply as I share the company of His children. I will keep a place for Him at my table always, and I will never forget the body broken, the blood poured, the love offered.