Day 11 of Lent: Communion

Continuing to the next verse, after Judas is confronted with his betrayal, his sin, Mark 14:22-25 continues the report telling how Jesus, “as they were eating,” knowing what was unfolding, and the horrors before him, takes bread and wine and institutes communion.  Interesting.  In the midst of drama, Jesus transforms the ordinary into means of receiving grace.  The ordinary bread of a meal becomes his body.  The ordinary wine or drink of the meal becomes his “blood of the covenant.”  We are charged to “remember.”

         Theologians have debated the exact meaning of this and denominations have formed.  Many consider this sacramental while others consider it a ritual of remembrance.  Anthropologists call it a ritual of intensification.  I will leave it for theologians to sort that out, but I would rather focus on the truth that in the midst of trauma, when we feel so unworthy, when we are so guilty, God reaches into our life and offers forgiveness and blessing – grace.  Communion was given in the midst of political drama, religious drama, and friendship drama.  Jesus charged his disciples to remember, not because they were being so good and being rewarded for their wonderfulness but were being given a way to transform ugliness into grace as in the ordinary elements in our hands we remember Christ’s presence with us.  A beautiful sunset or sunrise breaks across the sky and for a moment we commune.  We sit by the bedside of a sleeping child and realize we are blessed.  We receive a card in the mail from a distant friend and we are connected.

         Many ridicule Christianity as a promise for eternal bliss while putting on blinders to the trauma of this world.  We are accused of avoiding life.  Lent takes us into the trauma of life and reminds us of God’s presence even as, like Judas, we are plotting betrayal, or like Peter we are bobbling between false courage and real flight, or we are like the disciple who fled naked.  While we are sinners, Christ gave us communion and the ordinary bread and wine remind us of his covenant, his faithful love to us, to bless us.  Remember!

         As we go about today, may our eyes be open to God’s presence in the ordinary, may we hear the song of grace in the background, and may we touch the “other” with the love that we have been blessed with – in the midst of our journey.  Remember Christ’s commitment to you! Blessings.

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