At the Last Supper, as he prepared to eat the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus said about the bread, “This is my body given for you.” This statement likely puzzled the disciples. It is not easy to understand. In fact, many different understandings and theories have been advanced in church history. An interesting parallel is that as Jesus gave his body on our behalf, today the bread is given to us as we are admonished to “take the bread” each week in the Lord’s Supper. One author suggests that the bread communicates sacrifice—a body and a life given to pay for sins. When we eat the bread, do we in some sense incorporate (figuratively, not literally) the body of Jesus into our own physical bodies? If we incorporate or reincorporate Jesus into our lives each week in the Supper, do we not also incorporate his attitude of sacrifice? Perhaps the bread suggests that we are committed to living and dying as Jesus lived and died–for other people.
The word “communion” means “sharing.” As we take the bread, we commit to share with Jesus a life given for others, we commit to share with one another all that we are and have, we commit to share with the world our own lives given for others.
PRAYER FOR BREAD
This cup symbolizes the blood of Jesus. The Bible says that the “life is in the blood.” If in the bread we participate in the death of Jesus, perhaps we could affirm that as we take the fruit of the vine, we participate in the life of Jesus, a life dedicated to serving others, a life committed to God’s mission on earth. This suggestion provides an interesting sequence from death to new life.
The wonder and the mystery of the communion is not the action; rather, it is what the action means. Each week we are thoughtfully and prayerfully present with God. We reaffirm our repentance and our commitment to be a part of Jesus’ body on earth — and so share in the work of Jesus.
PRAYER FOR CUP