The past few weeks in August the Gospel Lessons from John chapter 6 have been about Jesus as the Bread of Life. I thought I would share a few of my reflections on what Jesus as the Bread of Life means for me. Especially as it relates to the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
Every week we celebrate Communion. Sure, we could have it less often but, we have it every week because It is who we are. As Christians, we rely daily on God’s grace and we know that every Sunday we can receive God’s grace at the communion table. We receive the promise of his presence and his forgiveness.
First, As Lutherans, we believe in the real presence of Christ. What does this mean? It means we trust that when Christ says “This is my Body given for you” And “This is my blood shed for you” it is true. It is a promise. That not only is Christ present in the Bread and Wine but that this gift is “for you.” How can Christ be present in bread and wine? This gift is one of the great mysteries of the church. It can be hard to wrap our heads around. St Claire says it best: “What wonderful majesty! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the Universe, the Son of God, should come to us in bread and wine, for our salvation.
The question often asked when faced with this great mystery is: Am I worthy to receive such a gift? Who comes the table is not about what any of us did or didn’t do. It is about what Christ offers us. Every Sunday at the beginning of our service we confess our sins and we announce that we are forgiven in the name of Jesus. Being a forgiven child of God makes us worthy. As Christians, we gather as broken wounded people around the table of our savior who endured the cross and death and yet rose again. We find life in him. This bread of life is for all those who follow Jesus and need food to keep them going. It is for people who might think they are unworthy or have doubts but even the smallest part of them trusts Jesus has something for them anyway.
Lastly, when I think about communion, I think about the communion of saints. I think about all those before us who have partaken of this meal and all those who long after us will do the same. The Mystery of this meal is that just as Christ promises his presence in the bread and wine when we receive it Christ becomes present in us. And we all become part of the body of Christ. Christ lives in us.
What is important about communion for you? How do you feel Christ present when we gather? What do the words “For you” mean we celebrate communion? Do you ever miss communion if you are away? I’d love to hear your answers.