Wednesday, July 15, 2015

common table & the gospel

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22:19

This is the way the Lord's Table is presented each time it is remembered in the Gospel accounts and in Paul's teaching in First Corinthians eleven. There are four principle verbs that describe the way that Jesus instituted this memorial for His disciples. First, He "took" bread. He physically grabbed the loaf in hand, held it, and prepared to do the next three things. Secondly, He "gave thanks". He blessed the gifts He offered. And He recognized them as God's gifts. He blessed the bread and the wine. The word Eucharist (unfortunately not a part of my stern baptistic upbringing) beautifully emphasizes this. It simplly means "blessing". Then He "broke" the bread. This represents Jesus' own voluntary sacrifice. Unless He died, no eternal life could come to us. Unless He laid down His life, we would not be saved. And finally, Jesus "gave" the bread and wine to His disciple with Him. Just as He gave Himself for us, He wants us to give Him out in the sharing of the gospel and His table.

And it does us well at communion to remember this pattern. We take bread and wine. We bless them. We break the bread and pour the wine. We give them to each other. And we remember Jesus' death and life until He comes. It is simple. It is profound. It is our common faith and practice as Christians.

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