Saturday, March 30, 2013
Yesterday, I did something for the first time. Believe it or not I attended a church service on Good Friday for the first time. The two churches I have been part of for my 50 years never had a service on Good Friday! I don't really know why but it is a fact.
So yesterday I gathered with over 350 people and "celebrated" Good Friday. Central to the remembrance was the sacrament of communion.
As a group of Jesus followers we took part in a "sacred" act and that dates back to the last supper between Jesus and his closest friends.
The ritual of Communion has been part of my church attendance. But I have always felt that what I have experienced in my church life is at least only a part of what Jesus was alluding to when he suggested that we do this every time we met. I have always struggled to understand how we have got that to mean in the middle of a Sunday morning service.
It feels like we have done with communion what we do with most of our spiritual life. Removed it from our EVERYDAY life and relegated it to a once a week spiritual event.
Thankfully in reading a blog today by Mark Waltz which was originally written in 2005 I find I am not alone.
"This Friday a bunch of us will gather in church buildings to observe Christ's death. Good Friday. In our brief half hour service at noon at Granger Community Church, we'll pause to reflect on the Lord's Supper. It'll be a poignant and sacred moment. Rightly so, the church, years ago, began to practise the sacrament of communion corporately as they gathered for services.
Now, this sacred meal is shared in local churches weekly, monthly, quarterly, on special occasions throughout the year, not just on Good Friday. Some use wafers, others loaves of bread. Some us Welch's grape juice, others drink wine from a common cup.
But, I sometimes wonder, what if Jesus didn't just foresee the corporate sacrament?
What if Jesus looked at his disciples over a meal they'd shared often and suggested, "Every time you do this, that is, every time you eat together, every time you share bread and drink wine, remember me."
What if Jesus really hoped that two, three, four times a day we'd pick up a sandwich and remember? What if Jesus really hoped that several times a day, we'd "break bread" with a friend, a family member, a co-worker and we'd remember? Remember him. Often, every day, throughout the day.
What if every time we talked with our mouth half full to someone across the table, we made eye contact and remembered?
What if we remembered Jesus and the way he loved people, as we sat with other people over a meal?
What if we remembered Jesus and the way he sacrificed for people, as we hoped this time spent over a meal would be win somewhere down the road?
What if we remembered Jesus and the great price he paid for the relational connection we share over this meal?
I still look forward to the corporate sacrament of the Lord's Supper at our church. I believe it's a practise that honours him and inspires us. But since I eat every day, I want to build a habit of celebrating Jesus every time I taste a food I love, every time my thirst is quenched by drink.