Readings: Exodus 4: 18-31, 12: 1-14 (12:1 – 13:16), Psalm 149, John 19: 16b-41
Which moments in your life have been particularly significant for you? Which moments have affected the way you understand the world and your place in it? Which moments have helped you understand the significance of things you thought you understood before?
With regards to my understanding of God and my understanding of family as we come together with the family that we are born into through the Spirit of God, I think that every time I take Communion, every time I accept Christ’s invitation to come to the table He has prepared for me; I have one of these moments. Even the litany that is pretty common amongst most denominations just blows my mind as it helps me remember the origin of Communion.
We praise you, Lord God, King of the universe, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: “Take this and eat it. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me”. In the same way, after supper, He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: “Drink from it all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me”.
The night in which Christ was betrayed was the night before the Passover meal would have been celebrated normally, but as the Lamb of God, Christ had to die before evening, before Sabbath, before the Passover. Jesus may have celebrated the Passover meal a day early with His disciples or He may have just used certain parts of the liturgy for the meal, knowing that they would understand what He was saying. The breaking of the unleavened bread represented the lamb that was slain as well as the anticipation of the Messiah that was to come. The wine represented the blood that was shed in order for the freedom of the Jews to be realised. It was the blood shed by the slaughtered lamb that became a stark reminder of the cost of sin and the reality of death. When the Holy Spirit filled the disciples and they started to put into words their experience of this moment, they started to understand the full implication of the meal they had celebrated their whole lives and the way in which that meal found its fulfilment in Christ. The meal was a celebration and a prophecy. It celebrated their freedom from slavery from Egypt by the hand of God and it prophesied how God would again save them from slavery, but this time He would save them from slavery to sin and death and the only lamb that would be good enough to do that was God Himself.
What a mind blowing, life altering revelation it is knowing that the fellowship we share at the rail today has been in place in one form or another since the time of Moses and even as it reminds us of what has gone, it continues to tell us what is to come. We look forward to that day when we will share in the meal and not in the foretaste, that day when we will be fully united with Christ. This has been a story that was written even before time came into existence and how incredible to know that we are a very real part of it.