Here’s a thought that occurred to me during this season of eating, drinking and merriment.
Like ethnic cultures throughout the world, much of Jesus’ ministry occurred over meals. As a matter of fact, Jesus was accused of being a glutton and drunkard more than once. Often, he could be found eating and drinking with prostitutes and tax collectors. And when it came to how he wanted us to remember him, it was over a meal. I think Jesus tied his life and death into this one event. The Love Feast. Communion. Eating and Drinking.
So during this past holiday season, I tried to live this a little more intentionally. For instance, during my company’s Christmas dinner, I ate and drank in remembrance of Jesus. Christmas eve, Christmas day and boxing day, I ate and drank with family. New Years day, I ate and drank. All in remembrance of Jesus – his life and his death & resurrection.
I don’t want to make lite over the times of sharing communion with fellow believers. However, I am coming to believe that we have turned communion into a ritualistic tradition. Our communion services feel more like the ritualistic, ceremonial washings seen during the wedding in Cana. Jesus took the stone water jars that were set apart for ceremonial washing and turned that sacred water into wine. We have taken the bread and wine that Jesus gave us to remember him by and set them apart, turning them into sacred juice and crackers. Jesus took sacred, set apart things and subverted them; are we taking a meal and setting it apart and making it sacred – subverting the very work of Jesus?
Was God present in the ritualistic washings? Could be. Is he present in our times of communion? Probably. My understanding of Daddy is that he in not looking at us to perform properly in order that he could bless us, but he blesses us wherever we are. It is not our actions and beliefs that separate us from the God but it is our attitudes and our heart.
Its like the sinner and righteous man who attended a wedding. The sinner kept washing in the sacred ceremonial washing jars, humbly and in an attitude thankfulness to God. The righteous man looked down on the sinner and proclaimed to God that he was thankful that he was free from rituals and that he was not like the sinner who still was stuck in the old ways. Who was God more pleased with?
So, if we believe that God is present even when we are not doing it right, is there any value in seeking to get it right?
I believe that God is present and active in our communion services where we use set apart emblems rather than have an actual meal and experience communion within the context of that meal. I believe that the former is a dualistic ritual of the holistic latter. That being the case, what is the value in our remembering the Lord’s death until he comes one way over the other?
Over this coming year, I will not take communion in a ritualistic manner. Instead I’ll try and have the attitude of communion every time I eat and drink. I am setting apart this year for eating, drinking and merriment!