Posted: April 16, 2018 by Kristin Bateman
The Last Supper
Go out, order in, buy a few pizzas, cook a big meal? It only took 3 rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors to make the decision, but a fancy meal at home it was. An Easter dinner in our home complete with ham, sweet potato casserole, spoon-bread, and all the fixings, was just what I craved. What is it that makes these meals so special? I don’t think it’s the food. I think it’s the heart. How often do we set out to make what we know is supposed to be a special meal? The mundane every-night dinner is more of a chore than a gift, and that’s what this Easter meal was for me, a gift to my family.
When you really think on it, that’s what the Last Supper was, a gift from Jesus to His family. A special moment that came from the heart. It was more about the heart of Jesus than it was about what they consumed. Even today, the heart of that meal means more than the bread and juice. The community that was shared at that table and today in our church home. The closeness of the bond that they shared, and that we now share.
The Communion Moment
There are times when I crave more from this moment in church; I think that’s my Roman Catholic upbringing. There are times when I want the formal phrases, the transformation of the host and the wine, the familiarity of the ritual. But those words aren’t what Jesus gave us. Those rituals weren’t the purpose of that meal. The only thing Jesus asked was that we would share the bread and wine in remembrance of Him. Luke 22:19 says,
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
There is no ritual, no fancy wording, just a simple statement of love and a request. I think back on how shocking it was to be in a church where there was no ceremony, ritual, or buildup to communion. No hoops to jump through. No sacrament you have to take to be able to accept communion. It was odd, and then it became normal. Why should there be anything that delays us from fulfilling Jesus’ request? When you come to communion with the right heart and a desire to remember all that Jesus has done for us, what more weight could or should be placed on this moment?
Then I had children…and all of a sudden I felt a need for rules. Guidelines. A set of directions for how to bring them to this moment of sharing in the community of Christ.
My Southern Baptist husband was no help. At all. His upbringing makes him say crazy things like they’ll come to it in their own time. Or it has to be their choice. Wait, what?! And all over again, like Baptism (that’s a whole ‘nother story), I am rethinking what communion means, what our part in it is. I realized that I really counted on having a planned set of steps for the kids to climb. Instead, I have to follow the path of faith alone. I can prepare myself and I can prepare our children to understand what communion is. Why it is. What it means. It has all been given to us, it’s all in the Bible:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat, this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26: 26-28
When Are You Ready?
So then, how can we know when we, or our children, are ready to take part in communion? It’s about the heart. It always has been. When we understand the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. When we can absolutely do what Jesus has asked, to remember Him, we are ready. Whether we are young, old, or in between, all we need is a heart prepared to remember and give thanks for the gift that Jesus is to us.