“Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
As it turns out, there are nearly 300 references to “bread” in the Bible. We know because we are working our way through all of them. One per week, in the order that they appear in Scripture. It took us nearly six months to get through Genesis. We have been doing this for over a year and a half, and we are only now in 2 Chronicles. FaithBridge‘s mid-week communion service is called The Bread of Life (you can read more about it here), and to be certain, we have plowed through some pretty obscure passages just because there was a reference to bread. For example, here is a passage from 1 Kings 22 from a couple of weeks ago:
Zedekiah, Chenaanah’s son, approached Micaiah and slapped him on the cheek. “Just how did the Lord’s spirit leave me to speak to you?” he asked.
25 Micaiah answered, “You will find out on the day you try to hide in an inner room.”
26 “Arrest him,” ordered Israel’s king, “and turn him over to Amon the city official and to Joash the king’s son. 27 Tell them, ‘The king says: Put this man in prison and feed him minimum rations of bread and water until I return safely.’” (1)
Upon first glance, this passage might indeed seem obscure. I doubt many sermons have been preached on Zedekiah slapping Micaiah. But when this becomes the main Scripture text for communion, the obscurity fades away. Why? Because communion forces us to read every passage through the lens of Christ’s death and resurrection. In other words, we have a weekly reminder of the great mystery of faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
And let’s be honest, we all need to be reminded of this. All the time. Because it’s at the core of who we are as Christians. As John Wesley claims regarding communion, “A Second reason why every Christian should do this as often as he can, is, because the benefits of doing it are so great to all that do it in obedience to him; viz., the forgiveness of our past sins and the present strengthening and refreshing of our souls.” (2)
It is far to easy for us to feel like our lives are being lived in obscurity. One random event after another. We long for meaning and purpose. Sometimes we even make decisions that pull us away from the life that God has intended for us. Drifting. Struggling. If the sacrament is a means of grace (it is), then we are reminded every time we partake that in fact we are not living a life of obscurity, but one of purpose and meaning. The body and the blood are given for us, so that we “may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.” (3)
Thus the joy of constant communion.
- The United Methodist Hymnal, 10