Saturday, August 31st
Luke 22:19 NRSV
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.
As Jesus shared his last Passover meal with his disciples, he instructed them to keep sharing the bread and wine together, and to remember him when doing so. Since then, people all over the world continue to gather for this meal, sharing the bread and wine and remembering Jesus. This sacramental meal has become very meaningful for much of humanity. When people speak of their personal experiences and their understandings of Communion, one can see the rich significance this sacrament holds in a variety of ways.
What if Jesus also gave us this sacrament to serve as a starting point? When Jesus tells us to break bread and drink wine, he is inviting us to gather together. And when we want to get to know people, what do we usually do? We invite them to a meal! Communion serves as a connecting point to begin building relationships with one another and to grow as a community of Christ. Communion and community are closely connected words.
In his book, A Bigger Table, John Pavlovitz describes Jesus as a table setter:
“What struck me when I began to read the Gospel stories was Jesus’ table ministry, the way he so often used the act of sharing a meal, the act of breaking bread, as a way of letting people know they were seen and heard and known and respected… The table was an altar around which he welcomed the world to experience communion with God and with one another.”¹
If Communion is a starting point, then what we do between meals becomes very important. Imagine Jesus at his last Passover meal with the disciples. They were friends, they were connected, they had worked and served, they had struggled and prayed, they had fed and healed. That last meal together was so much more than a get-acquainted dinner. If we connect at the Communion table but then go our own ways until the next meal, are we getting to know one another better? Are we serving others together? Are we studying, praying, listening, or helping one another? If not, we will gather as strangers again for the next meal.
We have thought about food quite a bit this week. What we do between meals makes an important difference, too!
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Thanks for reading.
¹Pavlovitz, John. (2017). A Bigger Table. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press