In order to take communion, our kids must first become members of the church. My youngest went through the kid’s membership class last year, and when it was over, I asked her if she would like to become a member.
Her answer rolled off her tongue so quickly that it took me off guard. I wondered why she was so emphatic. Was it that she didn’t like the class? Was she unsure about her faith? While I mentally played through the possible reasons, my youngest piped up again:
“Mom, I don’t want to become a member because I am not drinking that purple drink during communion. Uh-uh. That’s disgusting. And besides that, they don’t even give out good bread with enough salt. Maybe if they get better bread.”
And so, we put off membership. Because I figured there was maybe some maturing that needed to happen. Just maybe.
I often watch my youngest from the stage as I play piano during communion. As the plate is passed, I wonder what she’s thinking about. Is she really only considering the need for better bread? Or is she now beginning to understand the weight of what this supper actually means?
But do I give enough consideration to what this supper actually means?
I found myself lost in this question a few days ago as the bread and wine were placed before me. Has this meal become so rote that it’s merely about consuming a piece of bread and drinking a sip of wine?
“Do this in Remembrance of Me,” is what Jesus said to His disciples after He broke the bread in Luke 22. Do this – eat this bread and drink this wine– in remembrance of Me.
My mom passed away from a rare brain disease two years ago. While she was once a dynamic, beautiful woman, the disease caused her to whither physically and mentally. I remember holding her hand one day while she lay almost lifelessly in her hospital bed. I noticed that her wedding rings slipped easily on and off her finger.
These were the same rings that I used to play with as a child during church services. I would pull mom’s hand into my lap and twist and turn her rings, trying unsuccessfully to pull them off her finger. Mom would shrewdly make a game of it as she put her hand in a tight fist, asking me without words to try again. Her smirk said, “Let’s see if you can get these rings off. But first you have to open my fist.” So, I’d try, and giggle, and try again, slowly lifting one finger up and then the other until all five were flat on my lap. But the rings would never come off – no matter how hard I tried.
But sitting by her bed, they slid right into my palm, so I slipped them on my finger, assuring her I would keep them safe. Every time I look at these rings, I’m reminded of my mom – her life, her energy, and her kingdom work.
This is the kind of remembering that Jesus was asking of His disciples – what He is asking of us. Remember me. Remember with vivid detail who I am and what I did for you.
Remember the Person of Jesus
Consuming the elements should cause us to actually remember the person of Jesus. The God of the universe became man and experienced pain, joy, temptation, and sorrow. And He died an excruciating death for us. In love that is incomprehensible, Jesus bowed His head to the Father’s will, was mocked, beaten, scorned, and crucified. That story is not pretend. It was not made up in someone’s mind, but the life and death of Jesus is as real as the memories of my past.
And when we eat the bread and drink the wine, the realness of their taste should remind us of the certainty of the resurrection. It’s good and right to experience a gamut of emotion during communion. Our Savior arose and continues to work powerfully, interceding for us and restoring us unto him. How can we keep our praises contained with these remembrances?
Don’t succumb to habitual consumption at the Lord’s supper. Instead, remember. With thoughtful consideration…remember Jesus.
Remember the act of His Covenant Love
And in the same way, partaking in communion should cause us to remember God’s Covenant. He has kept every promise, and remembering these promises renews in us a spirit of gratitude for His continued faithfulness. He has promised that He will never leave or forsake those who have put their trust in Him. And when we publicly and humbly partake of this meal, we are declaring that we believe this. And in the same way our bodies crave food and drink, so should we hunger and thirst for a deeper relationship with this covenant-keeping God, the only true giver of spiritual life and vitality.
As real as the rings are that sit on my finger is the person and work of Jesus Christ. And as my heart swells in remembrance of what the rings represent, so also, I pray that when I see the table and consume its elements, my heart overflows in remembrance of my precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
About the Author:
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella (15), J-Rod (13), and Lily (9). Katie works as the music director at Trinity and serves on the Women’s Ministry Committee. She also spends much of her time writing, teaching piano, leading women’s Bible studies, and speaking to women’s groups about the joy she has found in Christ. Katie serves on the board of Covenant College, where she graduated with a BA in English Education, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. For more information, as well as various blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com.