Thursday, August 23, 2007

I've heard the sentiment so many times. I know they mean well, and I know that in a way, they're right. But what frustrates me and, yes, even scares me is what lies beneath it. It all comes down to neediness and our insatiable desire as human beings to avoid it. I hear the words once again. It is time for the Lord's Supper, time to focus our thoughts on the intense passion of the One who gave all He had for us. I hear the words: "We take this bread and this wine, not because we are hungry, but because we have been commanded to do so in order to remember Jesus and His sacrifice." Yes! And NO! How ridiculous to think that a crumb of nearly flavorless cracker and a sip of wine could satisfy! How ridiculous to contemplate coming to this remembrance "supper" in need of sustenance! And yet how perilous not to! For this is no ordinary bread we eat -- this is the Bread of Life. And it is no common juice we drink -- it is the Blood of Christ, who is the True Vine. How dare we come to this Feast of Life with such mistaken assumptions?! Not hungry?! Physically, perhaps. And I know this is what is meant. But I look at those around me, I listen to the voice of the one praying over this communion we are about to take part in, I even listen to my own heart, and I see that, truly, we are not hungry in the more important spiritual sense either. Oh, we take part in the ritual, and we congratulate ourselves on a job well done and lives well lived. Perhaps we do consider the sacrifice of Jesus and thank God for it. But this is nothing. Because three minutes later, we move on with our religious lives, forgetting what we have just been called to remember. Because we are not hungry. We are not hungry. When we ought to be ravenous, craving the Bread of Life and the cleansing Blood, when our souls ought to be crying out for the only Food that truly satisfies, the Manna of Heaven, sent from above to save us from spiritual starvation and certain death, "No," we politely say, "we are not hungry." Again, I understand what is meant. Physically, we are not partaking in the Lord's Supper in order to satisfy our bodies' needs. But we are doing it, or rather, ought to be doing it, to satisfy our souls' needs. For there is no other food that can compare, nothing of any spiritual nutritional value. Nothing but Jesus.

Why? My heart demands to know! How have we become thus? How have we fallen into this trap of spiritual complacency? Why are we not able, or perhaps not willing to be hungry, truly hungry for the Life that Christ is and gives? Why do we give His sacrifice only a few minutes' thought, even in the midst of our time of worship, of which it should be the central focus, and move on quickly, as though we don't want to dwell on it too long?

There are those who get it. They understand that without Jesus, they are nothing. Absolutely nothing. But with Jesus, things are different. Life is different. They are different. Because with Jesus everything matters. Because of Him, they have not only been forgiven of sin and freed from darkness, they have been empowered to live lives of light and righteousness, lives of truth and goodness. And living as victorious conquerors in a world which once held them captive, they rejoice over the One who has given them life. They take part in the feast of His Body and Blood not as a dispensable ritual, but as an absolute necessity for survival. For they crave the sustenance it provides, the sustenance He provides. They cannot live without it. They know it. And you can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices, read it in their lives. They live with passion for the One who lived and died with passion for them. They are hungry.

1 comment:

mitch said...

I understand your frustrations, Laura. And I appreciate the beautiful and truthful way you've described what the Lord's supper really is and how it (and how He) deserves more is the ages old spiritual ritual.

It's something I struggle with even here in the CZ. We give a lot of talk about how the Supper is the center of our worship together, yet on most weeks we still only end up spending a few minutes doing it, just like in the States. We're seeking though.

Do you have any ideas of how to make our practice of the Lord's Supper more meaningful and spiritual?