Today I spent my time reading my Bible and the book Your God is Too Safe. Here's what has been provoking my mind, especially concerning Communion:
Why hasn’t communion been more delicious to me? Strange question to ask I guess, but I’ve been pondering this since last night. You see, last night I had the loveliest communion I’ve ever had at church. That’s not to say that it was the most intense spiritual time with the Lord that I’ve had, or even the most moving communion service, because I’ve experienced deep and filling times at communions before. (by the way: It’s funny how we say AT communion. Communion to me has always seemed solid like a place or a time, never personal like an action or state of being.) Anyway, my best memories at communion were always connected with the worship and/or with my confession, so there was always this sort of downer when I physically partook of the bread and the wine. It felt as though following the command of Jesus to take and eat, to take and drink, could never match the beauty of my communication with the Lord. In fact, I’ve wondered why there was even the bread and the cup at all. But then, last night happened.
The table was laid out in the front of the room, with baskets of warm artisan bread and goblets of what I believed to be wine. We were supposed to come to the table during our worship to actually commune with God there. The instructions read to dip the bread into the glass, not to drink from the glass itself. (That's a relief; I don't want Pew Peter's Sunday sniffles). When I picked up a piece of the cut bread, I marveled at how large it was—this was no flat, dry wafer to place discretely in one’s mouth. How was it all going to fit? This is going to be embarrassing... I go to dip it in the wine, a bit fearful it might absorb too much, get too heavy and break off in the goblet, thus demystifying the moment for all when they come up and see the soggy, floating mess. However, my fears were not realized, so I lifted the bread to my mouth, mentally prepared for the bitter, acidic taste of the wine to hit my tongue first. I had a fleeting realization that that's exactly the kind of taste I wanted… somehow to make this commitment I was bringing before the Lord more solid, this morsel would need to be more bitter. See, in a way, I guess I believed the taste was going to show how willing I was to endure what was acerbic in order to attain a closer nearness to Christ.
But what happened next almost destroyed me in its beauty. The bread was warm, inviting, and saturated…not with bitter wine but with this sweet, sweet flavor that I couldn’t describe. There was no division between the taste of grapes and the taste of bread. It blended, it filled, and it surprised me in its goodness. It was too much for one bite. Oh no, this is going to be messy… this is going to cause attention. I had to pause, savor the first, then finish the second. I felt like I was up there way too long, and it was taking far too much time to “have communion”. And while I’m standing there, in the midst of my insecurity, there was this clarifying revelation and the tears just started coming. Isn’t this just like Jesus? I come, stiff even in my surrender, expecting there to be bitterness and blandness and obedience. He comes to show me He is sweet, and satisfying, and something to be savored. Not only that, He overflows with this abundance, so much so that I cannot hide that I am communing with Him… so much so that I cannot partake of Him with one taste. I am invited, nay, I am drawn into receiving Him again. I went forward because there were things in my heart that I wanted to commit to the Lord, things that I wanted to physically remember Him in. I walked away physically touched, deeply made aware of a communion with Him that I hadn’t experienced before.
This all happened yesterday; in fact, it’s Labor Day today, and I am still thinking about that moment. Isn’t this what Christ wanted when He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me?” I just keep thinking about Him, about what He wants, about what He desires, about how He shows up in unexpected, enticing ways to draw me out of my routine. I realize that I forever now want to remember HIM during times of communion-- not a song, or a message, or a feeling. I want to remember that there was a moment when I obeyed His command, and He communed with me. He. Communed. withme. How much I've been missing!
When Christ asks me to partake of these elements in order to show His death, He wants me focused on how we can commune together, how I can become more like Him… and... it's. in. my. death. In order to commune, I meet Jesus up on the cross. I lay down beside Him on the altar. I say with Him, “Not my will, but Yours, Father”. We share death in common. When I do this physically, when I ponder its electrifying meaning, when I commit myself to commune, what has to follow is this joy of the mouth, this praise of the King. I think, for the first time I get, I agree, with the cry of Philippians 3:10, "That I may KNOW Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” The knowledge of Christ comes from being made one with Him in communion which is intricately tied to Calvary. I consciously lay down my life in honor to the One Who willingly gave His for me. This is what I started to learn when I found the bread and the cup that night were delicious; it became a celebration of this sacred event.
There can be no communion without a cross… and that cross is not just ancient Golgatha’s; it is mine, it is yours, it is daily. It is lying beside you and me; it is our means to taste of His sweetness. Drink full, my beloved. He makes your joy to overflow so that it’s messy, so that it quenches you, and so that you need to go back for more.