For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. -- 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Again, we are sharing in a sort of miniseries on the message and the meaning of the actions made in the service of God's worship. There is story in the ceremony! Last month we explored how as we begin worship, we bow low, falling to our knees to confess. Then we respond to God’s declaration of grace by rising to praise him, singing the Gloria, or the song of the angels!
There is more to the story, however, for there is an intimate moment in the middle. There with our Lord we share at the table he has set! The banquet is ready to begin. There our Lord blesses and distributes his gifts to us under the form of bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sins and the strengthening of our faith! In a sense, this intimate moment in the middle is the height of the mountain top which is our worship!
That the ceremony is story was understood from earliest times. The Didache (the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”), a first century overview of worship and Christian life tells the story of unity in faith. At the time of communion, the pastor prayed for God’s church to be gathered from the ends of the earth into his kingdom, even as the grains of wheat had been scattered upon the mountains but had been gathered into one loaf. So the supper was telling the story of unity in our Lord!
We are one as we receive of the one bread and the one cup as we “banquet” before him. Yes! There is story in the ceremony, and as we eat and drink, we proclaim it together! Of course, this story will be fulfilled in glory at the wedding feast of the Lamb which has no end! Blessed are all who are invited to join in it!