“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26
It had been five months since I last participated in the Lord’s Supper. We were visiting my Mom’s church and I was thrilled we were receiving Communion. The opportunity to share in this ordinance again with a local body of believers with actual bread and actual wine (oh sorry – juice) was long overdue. We had each grabbed our elements when we arrived and now mine perched on a ledge as I sat in the nursery with my infant and two-year-old daughter. As I tended to feeding the baby and answering my toddler’s questions, I had a chance to catch the odd sentence here and there from the sermon. As the pastor concluded the service I realized I had completely missed my chance to take Communion with everyone else! My toddler had already knocked the plastic cup of juice over in spite of my best efforts to keep it upright. At least I still had the symbol of Christ’s body left. As if reading my mind, she snatched the cube of bread into her hands, ready to inhale it. What nerve! I was a split second behind her, prying the bread from her hands and proclaiming through gritted teeth, “That’s mine.”
I said a quick prayer of thanks before cleaning up the sticky spill. As I attempted to calmly parent, I remembered one of the lines I had caught from the message. It is easier to do ritual for God rather than obedience. But God does not want ritual without obedience (from 1 Samuel 15). I almost had to laugh at the irony of it all. God had different priorities for me; He was more interested in faith and obedience than the clean, reflective experience I had hoped for.
Pausing to remember and join fellow believers in the Lord’s Supper is significant. Thankfully, the hopeful truths of Communion are not limited to the ritual itself. Jesus’ meal with His disciples was not as put-together as we might expect either. Judas would betray Jesus and His friends would scatter and abandon Him. Yet, knowing it all, Jesus said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Jesus desired to feast with sinners and Jesus is coming again. He willingly receives moms like me and sinners like all of us to be washed clean by His blood. May this hope celebrated at the Lord’s Supper spur us on to do the often messy, real life submission to God.
Thank You, Lord, for giving us an occasion to reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection, to celebrate the Son’s power over death, and the Father’s way of salvation for His children. Thank You for giving us the Helper by whom we put to death sin and live a new life of obedience until Jesus comes again (Romans 8:1-16).
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