In Remembrance of Me
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
Sometimes the simplest things can carry the most powerful memories. A letter, a photograph, a news cutting, a trinket; as we look at them again, memories come flooding back. And that’s what exactly the Lord’s Supper is meant to do.
Instituted by Jesus on the night before his death, ‘the breaking of bread’ (Acts 2:42) – also called the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or Eucharist - became a central part of early church life. It was a wonderful opportunity to remember what Jesus had done for them at the cross and to do four things:
First, it was a chance to look back, remembering how Jesus gave his life for us, and to thank him. Second, it was a chance to look in and to confess any sin; for how can we thank Jesus for saving us if we’re harbouring sin in our heart? Anyone who does so simply ‘eats and drinks judgment on himself’ (1 Corinthians 11:29). Third, it was a chance to look round, recognizing that those eating were brothers and sisters in Christ and that ‘we, who are many, are one body’ (1 Corinthians 10:17). Fourth, it was an opportunity to look forward, anticipating Christ’s future return, for we share this meal together only ‘until he comes’ (1 Corinthians 11:26).
All this seems to have happened in the context of a meal in homes. Perhaps somewhat unfortunately, it has become almost exclusively part of Sunday services, and a part where most churches become more solemn than at any other point in the meeting. It is certainly serious, but that doesn’t mean it has to be miserable! In fact, Paul’s constant theme about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians is ‘thankfulness’.
Who knows what life and joy might be released among us if we were to take this ‘memorial’ back into homes in the context of a meal. Perhaps you could try it and see!
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead. (2 Timothy 2:8)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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