1 Corinthians 11:2-34, Matthew 26:26-28, Romans 3:25-26
Growing up, the Lord’s Supper never made much of an impact on me. I remember being jealous of those who were older and could enjoy it. And I remember playing with the little plastic cups after they were used.
Once, when I was no more than eight years old, our church had communion on a Sunday evening. It must’ve been during the summer or over a holiday weekend, because after church I spent the night at my friend Chris’s house. His older siblings had brought home a bunch of those plastic cups and set up a communion table in their bedroom. We munched on crackers and used the cups to drink tiny cups of Kool-Aid. We laughed a lot that night, walking the line between irreverent play and doing what Jesus commanded of us (1 Corinthians 11:17-26).
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to truly appreciate the bread and the cup. Our bank account was empty—not an exaggeration. Everything in the house seemed to be breaking. I was miserable at my job. Vocationally, I felt lost.
I knew the gospel was true. Objectively true. But the application was getting obscured by a cloudy dark night of the soul. There were few stars shining to steer by. No sermon seemed to help, though we faithfully attended church. I even taught Sunday School every now and again. Nothing I read gave any relief either.
One Sunday I was not very happy about going to church. So I prayed and asked God to give me something to hang some hope on, some word that would encourage me. What I was really after was a word of hope. Something I could hold on to.
That Sunday we had communion. I can remember looking down at the bread and the cup as I held them, one in each hand. Something I could hold on to. And then the pastor spoke Jesus’ words: “This is my body which is for you… This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (vv. 24-25). For the first time in a long time, I felt like I could hold on to something. When I drank from the cup, I was drinking in a promise of grace, mercy, and love made by the resurrected King. Since that Sunday, I have enjoyed the Lord’s Supper as a physical sermon of God’s covenant love for His people.
Jesus commanded us to eat the bread and drink the cup “in remembrance” of Him—to remind us of who He is, and who we are to Him. He wanted us to hang our hope on to something true, as represented by the broken bread and the poured-out cup. It’s not our faith we are hanging on to, but Jesus.
Written by Matthew B. Redmond