Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sacraments of Significance


“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
(Matthew 26:29 NASB)



On the night that Jesus shared the cup and the bread with his disciples, he ushered in a new practice for those who would be his followers. The early church practiced communion frequently because Jesus had told them to do so. Interestingly, Jesus was telling them that he would have this last meal with them but then would not share this ceremony with them again until all would be joined with him in his Father's kingdom.



I'm afraid that too often we don't recognize the significance in sharing together at the Lord's table. For those early disciples every time they ate and drank this together it was a very visible reminder of something they had personally shared with Jesus Christ. It was a reminder that Jesus Christ was waiting until they all arrived to be with him to continue the same practice. It was something that connected them in a very physical way to one another.

When we share in communion or the eucharist, we are stepping into a long line of Christian history and joining with those who have gone before, and with those who are yet to come in celebrating what Jesus has done for us. We don't just practice sacraments because they are rituals to remind us of something, but rather sacraments are literally something "mysterious." This is the Greek understanding of the word "sacrament" and it invites us into a mystical relationship with Jesus Christ, one which cannot always be explained in human terms. Taking communion is not simply a ritual, but it is a mysterious experience which allows us, in some way to step into communion with an unbroken community of faith which has now existed for over 2000 years. It is a mysterious dinner which began many years ago but which will not end until we sit down at the marriage supper of the lamb.

Every time we partake of the eucharist we ought to remind ourselves that this is something which is beyond ourselves. It is a reminder of the past and of what Christ has done, and yet it is also something that pulls us into God's future. It is a message of the hope of restoration, and the hope of completion. It should never become old or stale, but it should also be done often. Let's allow ourselves to step into the mystery of the sacrament and recognize its eternal significance. Won't you join me?



Lord, please help me to be aware of the significance of the cup and the bread each time I am able to share at your table. Amen.

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