Meals can stick with you in more ways than one. Do you have warm memories of delicious food you enjoyed at a holiday dinner or a birthday celebration? On the farm where I grew up, on Sundays my family enjoyed fried chicken or roast beef accompanied by mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade rolls, and green beans grown in our garden.
A meal doesn’t have to be fancy to be memorable. Did you ever take children out for breakfast and watch them devour a plate of ordinary pancakes, or treat them to a hot dog or an ice cream cone at a ballgame?
Invited to Supper
An old song gospel song says, “Precious memories—how they linger.” The Lord invites us to join him for a meal that is light in physical sustenance but weighty in spiritual significance. A crumb of bread and a sip of juice contain few calories, but the Lord’s Supper nourishes our souls with precious memories.
We remember the cross. The gospel of Christ is “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper keeps the cross front and center. Whatever else happens when we gather on the Lord’s Day, no matter what Scripture we study or songs we sing, Communion reminds us of the essence of our faith: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
We remember our connection to the body. We are not alone at this meal. It’s not a solitary supper. Other believers all over the world join us in holy fellowship. We are one in the Spirit with them. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body . . . and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13). When we partake of the bread, we remember the body of Christ that was nailed to the cross and affirm our oneness with the body over which Christ is the head.
We remember our covenant with the Lord. At the Last Supper when Jesus gave his disciples the cup to drink, he said, “This is my blood of the covenant” (Matthew 26:28). His words bring to mind Mount Sinai where the Israelites pledged to obey God’s covenant, and Moses took the sacrificial blood of young bulls, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you” (Exodus 24:5-8). At the Lord’s Table we reaffirm our commitment to the new covenant that gives us “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place,” not by the blood of animals but “by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19).
In the church of my youth the Communion elements were stacked in neat trays on a shiny wooden table with “Do This in Remembrance of Me” carved across the front. On a teaching trip in Austria I celebrated the Lord’s Supper with Christian brothers and sisters from Eastern Europe who solemnly passed one cup around the room. In Israel I shared Communion with fellow travelers in the Garden of Gethsemane, recalling Jesus’ anguished prayer on the night before he was crucified. In a quiet room I served the bread and the cup to my dad while he lay in bed aware of his approaching death. These are precious memories indeed.
What does the Lord’s Supper cause you to remember?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.