I was at my old Church in Waterloo, today. It comes from a denominational tradition where they serve communion – i.e. bread & wine/juice that represent Jesus’ broken body and shed blood for His people – every week (I think most Baptist churches and my Mennonite Brethren church back home would only serve it on the first Sunday of each month). Not only do they serve it weekly, though, but they offer red wine and white grape juice for your choosing.
The first time I took the red wine, I think I was like, “owww….” as it went down my throat and into my stomach. I’m not used to drinking alcoholic beverages. Actually, every time I take that tiny portion of wine, I’m always like, “owww…” a bit, in my head. But it feels good, a bit like it’s cleansing.
Which I think is part of the point. I’m pretty sure (translation: I believe this 100%) that God intended the details of communion from before the creation of the world (i.e. before the existence of time). Which means that even little things, like how bread feels when you’re chewing it in your mouth, or how the wine feels when it’s going down your throat, aren’t random coincidences. Here are a couple simple things I’ve noticed:
- “…he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you…” (Luke 22:19, ESV) Ever think about how the whole idea of breaking the bread (snap!) and ESPECIALLY the gruesome chewing of the bread, over and over in your mouth, is, well… violent? And gruesome? (I think I already said that) Ever think about how Jesus – who is the Son of God and fully God – how his bearing the wrath of God for our guilt and sin is so much more violent, painful, and gruesome? How unjust! Jesus should be exalted and rightly condemn us as guilty – instead He goes the opposite and gets run over by a truck, as it were, for our despicable sake.Let every time we chew up the bread remind us about how we daily chew up and brutalize our Father’s grace (i.e. undeserved kindness) – Jesus’ sacrifice for us. This is what happens whenever we sin (even a “little” bit) and forsake God’s ways and His holiness.
- “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:28, ESV) IT BURNS! And so it should, because Jesus’ shed blood cleanses and purifies us from all unrighteousness. It’s not some lame, unrealistic “forgiveness” that Jesus offers us. It’s strong and effective (like Lysol), and it’s not always “pleasant”. In fact, it can require some painful change in your life as He transforms and disciplines you. A necessary consequence of being forgiven and belonging to Jesus as a child of the Most High God.Interestingly, the first time I was back at Willingdon Church and we were having communion, I immediately remembered the whole wine/juice difference once the grape juice hit my mouth. I was like, “this feels so… weak.” 😛
(In a Forrest Gump voice) “…And that’s all I have to say about that.”