From Luke 22, Jesus is at the Last Supper with his disciples:
19And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Those words, or words very much like them and having the same meaning, were said at communion yesterday in Christian churches around the world. The Lord’s Supper, Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, no matter what it is called, is done because it is one of only two things that the Lord himself specifically commanded us to do (the other thing being “baptize all the nations”).
Nowhere else in Scripture do we have Jesus instructing us to remember, in ritual form and in group assembled, his birth, or, for that matter, his resurrection. And yet that is what the world celebrates: Christmas and Easter, whose celebrations have been hopelessly corrupted by pagan and secular influences. Not so the Lord’s Supper. It remains faithful to Scripture, and it asks us to celebrate Jesus, to recline with Him at table, at least symbolically, and know that it leads inexorably to Jesus’ heinous death on the cross.
“Celebrate”, not in the sense of a happy event. Rather, in the sense of honoring an event that was necessary for our salvation. I often write about Fluffy Bunny™ Christians; you may hear such called “C&E Christians”, those who only come for the “good” news, not the true Good News. No pain or messy blood for FBs; it’s all about pagan garlands, Father Christmas legends, Easter egg hunts. Oh, and lots of presents and candy and happiness.
We are told (specifically in this case by our Pastor, Bill Smith*) that Jesus emphasized the Lord’s Supper in Scripture (Jesus is, after all, on really good terms with the Author), because Jesus knew that we would choose to not remember the cross. It was, and for many to this day, remains, as Paul wrote to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:23): “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.”
Nobody prefers pain to its absence, Well, at least no sane person does. Or so we are told. And yet, Jesus was right, of course, to focus our attention on his crucifixion and death in the form of the Lord’s Table. Because the ultimate test of Christianity is that we share His pain and shame, and overcome what Paul wrote to the Galatians (3:13): “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”
So, Christians are all a little crazy. Because we know, in our heart of hearts, the truth: No Cross, no Crown.
*In the giving credit where credit is due department: this post takes off from a theme from our pastor, Bill Smith, at Communion Sunday yesterday.
| technorati tag | Christianity|