Did you share in Christ’s body and blood Sunday? I did, and I confess, it was a lack luster experience.
[“The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci, photo courtesy of Wikipedia]
Barely a whisper of faith and worship wafted through my mind. The temperature of my heart at that moment seemed set to lukewarm, which was ironic since the sermon was from Revelation 2:14-22 where John records Jesus’ message to the lukewarm Laodician church. To adapt John Wesley’s famous phrase, my heart was not “strangely warmed.”
If you’re average like me, you’ve experienced this, too.
But, how could we possibly become bored with “This is my body given for you?” How could, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood,” leave our minds and hearts unaffected? (See Luke 22:19-20)
Consider how these words must have astounded the 12 disciples. Imagine their puzzled side-long glances, afraid to speak what must have been on their minds.
A new covenant? Is he serious? In his blood? What??? They were anything but distracted.
They Were Riveted
In a small upper room that smelled of oil lamps, warm bread, and roasted lamb, Jesus forever replaced the old covenant with a new, better covenant. The old covenant was God’s formal contract with Israel, mediated by Moses, that governed their relations with Him. But on that night, Jesus said He was the new covenant maker (i.e. God), and the new covenant mediator greater than Moses, and the new covenant sacrifice more perfect than the passover lamb.
This means that whether you call it Communion, or The Lord’s Supper, or The Eucharist, sharing the body and blood of Christ through the elements of bread and wine is the central and defining act of worship. It is the symbolic confirmation of the gospel of His free and gracious redemption in Christ.
So, why was I so unmoved? Plain and simple, I was distracted. I hadn’t prepared my mind to bring God my best worship. Is that your story, too?
Here’s a few practical ideas on getting our wayward minds ready to receive His body and blood more worshipfully next time.
1. Prepare for worship with prayer while on your way to church. Ask God to free you from distractions and help you worship Him as He deserves, and as your soul needs.
2. Get out your Bible and meditate on a few verses from Isaiah 53 or Luke 22. If a friend or spouse or kids are in the car, ask them to read aloud to you. Make a short discussion of it.
3. Sometime before the service begins, close your eyes for prayer and in your mind, rehearse the events of the last supper, the prayer in the garden, the arrest and trial, the flogging and crucifixion.
4. Since we’re now five weeks out from Easter, you could prepare your heart and mind by observing Lent. (btw – this isn’t practiced in my Christian tradition, but there’s some new talk about it lately that has me rethinking.)
When You Are Bored
Finally, if you’re an average Christian like me, you really appreciate those rare moments when your faith is so eager to receive, so hungry and thirsty for the Bread of Heaven that you feel awash in God’s presence as you receive the bread and wine. But please remember that when this isn’t the case, God still accepts you because of the work of Jesus on the cross, not because of any fervency of worship you might muster. Your assurance of belonging to Christ isn’t dependent on religious affections; it’s dependent on the new covenant…
in His blood…
given for you.
Here’s more wonderfully-written thoughts on Lent and The Lord’s Supper from blogs I follow:
- Why Bother with Lent, from The Gospel Coalition
- A Sublime Transcending Unity in Flesh and Blood, by Aaron Everingham
- Lent Through the Lens: The Sandwich Post by a work colleague, Julie Shipp
Are you satisfied with how you prepare to receive Christ’s body and blood?
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