Jesus - Communion

Ollie Ward

‘Do this to remember me’ 

I have had some awkward meals in my time. Whether it’s saying too much or sitting in painful silence.

Reading

Luke 22: 14-23

Thoughts

I have had some awkward meals in my time.

Whether it’s saying too much and regretting it later, nothing being said at all and sitting in painful silence, or, when staying over with a host family (in a very nice house I might add) accidentally flicking a freshly buttered corn on the cob over my head for it to roll down the wall leaving an obvious, greasy trail.

Awkward. 

I cannot help but feel that Jesus’ last meal was awkward.

Every gospel writer reminds us that this happened during Passover, one of the most important Jewish feasts in the calendar, a seven-day festival that reminded the Jewish people of their exodus identity.

It is also the last time Jesus will eat with his friends before he is tortured and crucified, so this is an important supper.

During it He prophetically redefines the elements of the Passover meal, showing himself to be the one who will free God’s people from their slavery to Sin through the sacrifice of his body and blood.

However, Jesus also chooses this moment to call out his friends because they would abandon him; Judas would betray him to death (Luke 22:21) and Peter would deny he ever knew him (Luke 22:34).

Awkward and perhaps something his disciples would rather forget.

Yet this is how we remember Jesus and celebrate our freedom. 

Like the Passover, this Last Supper or Lord’s Supper is one of the most important parts of our story as believers and friends of Jesus.

As the Israelites are commanded to remember the Passover, to retell the story for the next generation (Exodus 12:24-28), so are we commanded to remember (Luke 22:19) and re-tell this moment – in all its awkwardness.

Remembering this meal is not just a historical recollection.

To remember Jesus in this way is to symbolically re-enact our identity as children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:15-17).

People who are freed from the slavery of Sin and invited to join God around the table for dinner.

This is why the awkwardness is important. We remember that we are the kind of people that betray Jesus and disown him even while we eat with him.

We remember we sent him to that cross, and we acknowledge that it is not by our faith in Jesus that we are saved but by Jesus’ faith in us (Romans 5:8-9).

When we take communion, we join with millions of others throughout history as we remember Jesus’ life and death; we acknowledge Jesus’ presence with us in the present and humble ourselves before him.

As we do this, we are transformed by the Spirit and prepared for the future.

Changed and again charged with sharing this story with others.

A supper that transcends time and changes our identity, even if it is sometimes a little awkward.

Not such a bad mealtime after all.

Application

When you celebrate communion this Easter take time to prepare, don’t rush it, treat it carefully.

Remember Jesus and what he has done for you.

Imagine yourself as one of those disciples sat around the table as Jesus says, ‘this night you’ll all fall away from me.’

Then as you eat the bread or wafer, and take the wine or grape juice… smile.

Such a simple, sometimes awkward gesture connects us to a huge and transformative story and to Jesus himself.

Then marvel at God’s awesomeness in the face of your awkwardness. 

Prayers

God, your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.

You are far beyond anything we could ever imagine.

I come awkwardly and embarrassed before you, as I know I’ve let you down and don’t deserve this invitation.

Words cannot express my gratitude, I’m overwhelmed. I’m saved and free because of this.

Change me, strengthen me, and come with me as I try to tell your story to the next generation.  Amen.

 

Ollie Ward is Youth Ministry Course Leader, and a Performing Arts Track tutor, at Regents Theological College. He gain his BA (Hons) in Applied Theology and Performing Arts at Regents, and an MA in Contemporary Theatre Practices at the University of Worcester. Regents is at the heart of the Elim Churches training programmes, and has been releasing people into ministry and mission for over 95 years.

These daily thoughts and responses are part of a series of eight by members of the Regents faculty for Holy Week 2022. They were written with the idea that they can be to used as a personal reflection over Easter, or with home groups, and also as part of a wider church ministry.

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