Over the course of this blog series we have watched the actions of Jesus and reflected on the implications of the verbs used to illustrate his implementation of communion. He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it, and then spoke. We will focus on this last verb this week.
Jesus tells his followers to “Take, eat; this is my body”.
We cannot lose the startling nature of such a command. What is Jesus saying here?
First, this is a call to consume the sacrificial death of the Christ. Jesus commands his followers to take up their cross and follow him. He is asking us to feast upon his sacrifice and allow the reality of this story to shape every aspect of our lives. You are what you eat. We are being called to eat his sacrificed body, to allow it to nourish and energize us, to live out Jesus’ example in the lives of others. These words, steeped in the symbolism of sacrifice, should provide life in the ears and souls of the listeners we come in contact with. Just as the death of Christ produces life in the body of his church, so our words of life, spoken in the shape of his sacrifice should be springs of eternal life in the souls of those we come into contact with.
However, words spoken from the fear of scarcity or insecurity can produce death, fear, and division. The example of Christ’s sacrifice is willing, intentional, authentic. We must speak from this same place of abundance.
What kind of words can we hope to share with our weary world, our fractured communities, our friends, families, and acquaintances? What about our words could possibly help?
The words we share should originate in our chosenness in Christ. Finding their genesis in our intentional selection by Jesus, our words are affirmed, empowered, inspired by the blessing we receive in Him. Our brokenness not only refines but also tenderizes the truth we seek to speak into the hearts of our hearers. When we allow our words to die to self, we can move into vulnerability, reveal our wounds to one another, and follow the example of Jesus. As his body was broken for our lives, we can allow him to reveal his invitation to others through our own brokenness. We may be rejected, mocked, or ignored. We are called to speak nonetheless.
As one author has noted, “We are the little words of God spoken into existence by the big Word of God, called to speak blessing into a world full of curses.”
We are called to do this in remembrance of him, not only when we participate in communion every Sunday, but as we live out this reality in the midst of our communities. Jesus is calling us to live out the drama of this meal— to be propelled forward from the abundance of our chosenness and blessing, in the life giving grace of lavished love. As we take the trust that grows deeply in the soil of choosing and blessing, we can confidently surrender our hurts, wounds, and flaws to be used as broken grains of lament and repentance, mixed and baked in the hands of the loving Savior, and fed to our community in meals of hope and life for all.