(I’m leading communion tonight, for a group of youth. Here’s how I’m starting.)
I am an addict.
I am addicted to novelty. To hearing and seeing new things.
The next text. The next status update. The next tweet from a friend. The next play. The next episode.
I’m addicted to the next indication of approval, the next like.
The next indication of rejection.
If someone smiles, I smile. If someone frowns, I worry.
If no one says anything, I am paralyzed with uncertainty or I frantically do something, share something, try something.
I am an addict.
Tonight, this small meal we are sharing is a rejection of novelty. an invitation away from addiction.
There is nothing new about the bread and the cup, nothing novel. In fact, it wasn’t even new when Jesus sat at a table with his followers and picked up the bread and broke it, and picked up the cup and passed it. The reason we call it “the last supper” is because it wasn’t the first. It was the last time that Jesus would sit this way at this kind of feast until time was over.
Jesus picked up the same bread that was always at that meal. He picked up the cup that was always at that meal. And if we had been the disciples, it would have felt like a comfortable routine. Every year, these guys would have sat at this kind of meal. Familiar. And a little boring. Like communion is for many of us. Here’s bread. Here’s the cup.
Then Jesus said the most novel thing that had ever been said. He broke the bread and said, “Eat this. This is my body.” He picked up the cup and said, “Drink this. This is my blood. It’s being poured out for the forgiveness of sin.”
In that moment, these familiar, boring objects – bread and liquid – were forever changed. For these followers of Jesus, bread would never be just food. The cup would never be just a drink. A meal would never never be just something to do.
Every time these guys sat together, they would remember that last meal. They would look forward, wondering if the next time they ate, they would eat with Jesus.
(Part two: Broken once, shed once, remembered every time.)