Daily Lent Devotional #44 (4/21/2011)

Today’s Devotional Topic:   “Eucharist and Communion”

Today’s Scripture:   Luke 22: 14-20

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

As we look forward to celebrating and remembering The Lord’s Supper tonight at NBFMC for our Maundy Thursday Service, I wanted to offer some thoughts about Communion and the Eucharist.  As we are a Protestant denomination, we celebrate the remembrance of The Lord’s Supper under the title of “Communion.”  Our Catholic brothers and sisters observe “Eucharist” during their weekly Mass gatherings.

In my mind, there is very little difference between these two perspectives on The Lord’s Supper (though most Catholics would disagree about this).  As I have spent time learning about the supposed differences, I have encountered one main issue in all churches:  application.  When it is functioning well, the Eucharist is geared to commission those who take it to go out into their world to spread the Gospel and provide care for those who are “the least of these.”  When it isn’t functioning well, it can become a mindless weekly tradition and can lose the well-meaning heart behind it all…to become more like Jesus.

The same risks exist during Communion within Protestant churches.  If the ritual occurs too often (or too infrequently), the church member runs a risk of missing the point of the sacrament of The Lord’s Supper and leaves to continue life as usual.  For all of us, the challenge is to treat the body and blood of our Lord with reverence; letting the memory of Christ’s sacrificial death motivate us to become more like him each day.  We seek communion with Christ as we are “communing” with each other.  It is a public and private event, with Christ as the King of it all.

In closing, here’s some thoughts about The Lord’s Supper and Eucharist from our Catholic buddy, Henri Nouwen. 🙂

When we invite friends for a meal, we do much more than offer them food for their bodies. We offer friendship, fellowship, good conversation, intimacy, and closeness…we offer our guests not only our food and our drink but also ourselves. A spiritual bond grows, and we become food and drink for one another other… As we enter together into the sacred mysteries of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we gradually become one body. We truly come to know one another in Christ.

In the most complete and perfect way, this happens when Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as food and drink. By offering us his Body and Blood, Jesus offers us the most intimate communion possible. It is a divine communion.

The beauty of the Eucharist is precisely that it is the place where a vulnerable God invites vulnerable people to come together in a peaceful meal. When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close.  Whenever you receive the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist his love is given to you, the same love he showed on the cross. 

A truly eucharistic life means always saying thanks to God, always praising God, and always being surprised by the abundance of God’s goodness and love.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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