Over the course of Lent we will be posting weekly blogs reflecting on Communion, the Christian tradition of remembering the sacrifice of Jesus symbolized in bread and wine. As we embark upon our 40 Days of prayer and fasting, our hope is that considering this practice would be helpful as we look to find our satisfaction in Him. We will be considering the institution of the Lord’s Supper as Matthew recorded it (Mt 26:26), paying specific attention to the verbs he uses to describe what Jesus did. In this account, we see the elements (bread and wine) being Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given, and Spoken over. These actions will guide our reflections moving forward.
To set the foundation in our introductory week, let’s consider the scene. Matthew begins with, “Now as they were eating….” –such a simple phrase so easily passed over. The “they” that Matthew is referring to are the disciples: a ragtag band of misfits covering the gamut of the social spectrum. From blue-collar business men (Peter the fisherman) to a shady social scapegoat (Levi the tax collector) to a militant extremist (Simon the Zealot), the audience of this inaugural communion ceremony clearly demonstrated the far-reaching scope of the Gospel. This is the motley crew that Jesus chose as front row VIPs to his institution of one of the most formative traditions within church practice.
We learn in this intentional guest list that this is a meal of God’s invitation. Let’s be clear: this is an invitation to sinners, to the broken, to the least, the last, and the lost. In other words, to all of us. All of us who have sinned and have been sinned against, who feel and inflict pain daily. There is no merit or success that qualifies these participants. Jesus called them of his own accord. Jesus initiates, moved by his compassion and sacrificial love. We see in this call pure grace. In the midst of their daily lives, repairing nets, collecting taxes, resting under a fig tree, Jesus enters in. This meal is initiated by the Word, who took on flesh, and made His dwelling among us.
This welcoming call of invitation to come to the table, take a seat, enter into relationship, and eat together will be fleshed out on Good Friday and fulfilled on Easter. We look forward to walking together through the darkness of Lent and into the glorious light of Resurrection Sunday!