Thursday scripture Luke 22:19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
When we cut through the centuries of doctrine and dogma built up around communion we see a simple but powerful event. So much time has been wasted on what happens in the bread and cup, whether or not it truly becomes the body and blood of Jesus, that the church missed the point. So let's look at the moment and see the epiphany, experience the divine.
We know that Jesus is about to be arrested by the Roman's. He has told the disciples on many occasions that this arrest will end in his crucifixion. Luke makes it very clear that the disciples do not understand this, that they are either in denial or even unconcerned. In Luke's gospel, during the last supper, the disciples dispute who among them will be the greatest. Peter pledges loyalty and fidelity to Jesus come what may. We know that Peter will fail to live up to this promise. We know that they all will betray Jesus and leave him to face crucifixion alone. Jesus is abandoned. He knows he will be abandoned. Yet his response to this abandonment is to host his betrayers at a meal. He reacts by offering himself, this is my body, my blood... for you, he says. He gives himself to those who will be unfaithful. And this is the epiphany, the experience of something divine. This the moment of welcome. The event of solidarity.
The early church struggled, even as they remembered this event in communion, to allow it to also be a moment of re-enactment. When we read in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul's displeasure with the way that the Lord's Supper is celebrated at Corinthian churches, we what re-enactment was meant to be. Paul is displeased because the wealthy who sponsor the meal do not wait for the working class or the enslaved members of the church to come. They eat the best food and drink the best wine without waiting. They are meant to offer themselves, their best food, their hospitality, their best selves to others in this moment. Not only was Jesus's gift of his loyalty to be recalled in memory, but re-created in the fellowship of the community. Social and economic divisions were not to be recreated at the table. They were meant to be subverted and repented of and undone and new social arrangements made. Relationships based on dignity and mutuality and equality regardless of social status. The faithfulness and solidarity that Jesus showed at the last supper are meant to be lived on in all our communion meals and in our lives as well. When we create this healing space and these wholesome relationships, we become the way in which discouraged, broken, despairing people can experience the presence of a loving God.