Fruit of the Vine
“Is it okay to like communion?” our son asked last Sunday. His curiosity made me smile, even though I did have to stop and think about how I might accurately answer such a question. Every time I take a sip of Welch’s grape juice, I always remember the sweet smell of it on my mother’s breath when I was a child.
In the little church where my grandparent’s worshiped, the grown-ups took the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. They would first pass around the unleavened bread (which always looked like a cracker to me) and then they would pass a silver tray of tiny little glass cups filled with grape juice. It was quite a solemn observance as I felt sure it should be. But it was also something I aspired to…something I wanted to be part of …something sacred for the big people. And by the time they passed it around, I was pretty hungry and it smelled good.
When I look at the story in the New Testament book of Matthew Chapter 26, the words in verse 20 always seem to catch my eye. It says Jesus was “reclining at the table” with the twelve disciples. It’s probably rarer in our society than it was in years past, but reclining at the table conjures up an image of a warm and welcoming place. A relaxing atmosphere where conversation is key and good food is still on the table.
Certainly there was seriousness that night, like never before. But prior to talk turning back to the impending crucifixion, in both the books of Matthew and Mark, it says, “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread,”
Jesus was sharing a special evening with his disciples. When He asks us to share the same meal, I believe He wants us to feel that closeness with other believers and especially with Him. He told us very specifically to remember Him, and, when we do, sometimes, thoughts of His death on a cross summon up feelings of sadness. But we are reminded in Matthew 26 that Jesus was not forced to die on the cross…no one took Him against His will…He was not overpowered by the crowd…He chose to give His life for us.
The solemn, respectful observance should leave us walking away rejuvenated, refreshed, forgiven and free. We can recline in a way…relax in the knowledge that no one has ever loved us more.
Recognizing that our son would probably remember our words, we gave careful consideration to what we believe is an accurate answer.
“It’s not only okay to like communion, it’s okay to love it.”
It is an ordinance for redeemed sinners, and not for unfallen angels. By receiving it we publicly declare our sense of guilt, and need of a Savior – our trust in Jesus, and our love to Him – our desire to live upon Him, and our hope to live with Him. Using it in this spirit, we shall find our repentance deepened, our faith increased, our hope brightened, our love enlarged, our besetting sins weakened and our graces strengthened. It will draw us nearer to Christ. ~ J.C. Ryle
On Good Friday night, we always try to gather friends and family to watch The Passion of the Christ. While it is a hard movie to watch, it is a blessed reminder of what He really did and how much He values us. No matter what you think of yourself, no matter what you believe others think about you, He proved how much He loves you and how much you are worth to Him. While we spend so much of our lives trying to win the love of others, His love is the greatest love of all!
Who else would ever sing a song of praise, before willingly choosing to die, just for you?
“After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
Matthew 26:30 NASB
Communion, the Lord’s Supper, Holy Sacrament or the Eucharist…isn’t it really all the same? It’s a privilege to share in His sufferings so we might also share in His inheritance.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Romans 8:17 NIV
Hold your head up a little higher, walk with more confidence, and see yourself through His eyes and not the eyes of the world. On Friday, April 29, 2011 as the world watches Kate Middleton marry Prince William, just remember you are a Daughter of the real King!