(This is part two of a communion meditation. Part one appeared yesterday.)
When we remember the brutal reality of the cross we have the ultimate affirmative answer to the incessant quest for affirmation. When we remember that Jesus died, we remember that someone loved us completely.
We search for novelty because we don’t believe anything lasts. We think we need to keep finding the adrenaline rush of something new. We search for affirmation because we hate ourselves and we are looking for someone else to tell us differently. But a need for newness is never satisfied. Everything gets old. A need for affirmation from people is never satisfied. People will always get have needs themselves.
But then there is Jesus.
John writes that “when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
Paul explains this when he writes, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This bread, this cup, say to us once and for all, again and again, “I do love you, because I did love you then, because I always, everywhere, will love you.”
They say this because Jesus talked about the bread and the cup and then, in twelve hours, was beaten. Was mocked. Was ridiculed. Experienced the worst of the humiliation we face. His body was broken. His blood dripped and then ran and then poured out.
And then he died. And then he was buried. And then he was raised. And then he talked to the disciples again. Fixed them fish.
But he never again ate bread and drank from the cup. Not yet.
The disciples, looking back, writing the words, knew the clear connection between what Jesus said and what he did. They understood that without the resurrection, this bread and cup would be merely morbid. Like eating the same last meal that an executed criminal ate. To remember his just execution.
No. They ate this meal to fight the novelty, to remember that nothing new is necessary. No innovations, no simulations. We have in Christ our once and future salvation. Our once and future hope rests entirely in the hands that broke the bread and shared the cup, that were broken and pierced, that are risen and ruling.
Broken once, shed once, remembered every time.
And when we think we are doing well, that we know exactly where God is taking us, and we are getting a little arrogant about the quality of our obedience, God sits us down at this table and reminds us that it isn’t our self-denial, it’s Christ’s death.
And when we are thinking we are doing poorly, we are even at this moment wondering what would happen if God and our mom found out about that, God sits us down and reminds us that it isn’t our badness or goodness, it’s Christ’s death.