Scripture: Luke 22:14-23
Key verse: (19) Then he took a loaf of 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.”
Reflection: Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples in Jerusalem. At that gathering, he offered the disciples the bread and the cup (in this gospel, there were two cups – one before the bread and one after) to be received and to be shared. He interpreted the bread to be his body and the cup to be his blood, both offered out of selfless love.
This meal became a sacrament for the church. St. Augustine defined sacraments as “visible signs of invisible grace.” Jesus took ordinary items, the cup and the bread, and made them holy by giving the disciples another way to understand those ordinary things. Cup and bread are no longer merely cup and bread, but they point to something mysterious and wonderful. Cup and bread will be reminders of Jesus’ death. Cup and bread will be signs of Christ’s presence with us. The simple cup and bread create community with all those who see the love of God in these ordinary items.
This Sunday at Myers Park Presbyterian Church we will celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. All of us are welcome at the table of the Lord – those who believe and those who long to believe and those who question belief. Sometimes I am asked why we welcome children to the table (many of us grew up in traditions that didn’t allow children to receive the sacrament until a certain age or a particular ritual). Usually the person asking the question says, “They don’t understand so we should wait until they understand what they are doing.” I respond: “Wow, you understand? For 2000 years the greatest theologians have said it’s a mystery. If you understand it, you should write a book.” God’s love is a mystery sometimes, turning ordinary things into holy reminders. I’m just grateful to be invited to the table.
Prayer: Gracious and giving God, as by the miracle of creation this bread and wine are changed into us, we pray that by the transforming power of your Holy Spirit, we might be changed into you, to be the Body of Christ in and for the world, and to join your ministry of justice, mercy and love. Your selfless love is incomprehensible. There is room at your table for everyone. Thank you. Amen.
(Our prayer today is an adaptation of the prayer we use in worship after communion, adapted from a prayer of the Iona community.)
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].