Eucharist

If your a Catholic or Lutheran you may know this term.  It means Communion or Lord’s Supper.

The Eucharist is a real blessing.  3 Reasons I would like to reflect on.

The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of what Jesus did in the past, a symbol of our present relationship with him, and a promise of what he will do in the future. Let’s review these three aspects.

Memorials of Jesus’ death on the cross

On the evening he was betrayed, while Jesus was eating a meal with his disciples, he took some bread and said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). They each ate a piece of the bread. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we each eat a piece of bread in remembrance of Jesus.

“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’” (v. 20). When we drink a small amount of wine (or grape juice) at the Lord’s Supper, we remember that Jesus’ blood was shed for us, and that his blood inaugurated the new covenant. Just as the old covenant was sealed by the sprinkling of blood, the new covenant was established by Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 9:18-28).

As Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper looks back to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The death of Jesus is a tremendous gift to us. It is precious. When we are given a gift of great value, a gift that involved personal sacrifice for us, how should we receive it? With mourning and regret? No, that is not what the giver wants. Rather, we should receive it with great gratitude, as an expression of great love. If we have tears, they should be tears of joy.

So the Lord’s Supper, although a memorial of a death, is not a funeral, as if Jesus were still dead. Quite the contrary—we observe this memorial knowing that death held Jesus only three days—knowing that death will not hold us forever, either. We rejoice that Jesus has conquered death, and has set free all who were enslaved by a fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Our present relationship with Jesus Christ

The crucifixion of Jesus has a continuing significance to all who have taken up a cross to follow him. We continue to participate in his death and in the new covenant because we participate in his life. Paul wrote, “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16). In the Lord’s Supper, we show that we share in Jesus Christ. We commune with him. We are united in him.

 

Paul criticized the Corinthian Christians for their manner of observing the Lord’s Supper. The wealthy members were coming first, eating a great meal and even getting drunk. The poor members came last, still hungry. The wealthy were not sharing with the poor (vv. 20-22). They were not really sharing in the life of Christ, for they were not doing what he would do. They were not understanding what it means to be members of the body of Christ, and that members have responsibilities toward one another.

So as we examine ourselves, we need to look around to see whether we are treating one another in the way that Jesus commanded. If you are united with Christ and I am united to Christ, then we are united to each other. So the Lord’s Supper, by picturing our participation in Christ, also pictures our participation (other translations may say communion or sharing or fellowship) with each other.

As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” By participating together in the Lord’s Supper, we picture the fact that we are one body in Christ, one with each other, with responsibilities toward one another.

At Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, Jesus pictured the life of God’s kingdom by washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1-15). When Peter protested, Jesus said it was necessary that he wash his feet. The Christian life involves both serving and being served.

Reminds us of Jesus’ return

Jesus said he would not drink the fruit of the vine again until he came in the fullness of the kingdom (Matthew 26:29; Luke 22:18; Mark 14:25). Whenever we participate, we are reminded of Jesus’ promise. There will be a great messianic “banquet,” a “wedding supper” of celebration. The bread and wine are miniature rehearsals of what will be the greatest victory celebration in all history. Paul wrote that “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The Lord’s Supper is rich in meaning.  Eucharist is a blessing to us.  As often as you gather together in church community you should celebrate the Eucharist.  Amen.

 

 

 

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