In my week, I participate in no more moving or important activity than the Lord’s Supper – communion or the Eucharist, if you prefer (I personally like Eucharist, from the Greek for “giving thanks,” something Jesus does before He distributes the bread and the fruit of the vine to His disciples – Eucharist reminds me to come to the Table with a humble heart full of gratitude). The Lord’s Supper moves me – I have, at times, wept as I remembered I caused Jesus’ death. The Lord’s Supper recommits me to follow Jesus and to leave my sin behind. The Lord’s Supper reminds me of what my life is really all about.
I’ll tell you a secret: As my health has declined, the Eucharist has taken on a new and deeper meaning. Let me tell you why:
- I’ve prayed for help, but I’ve never prayed in such deep agony that sweat fell as drops of blood.
- I have friends who have stood by my side, not friends who have deserted me.
- I’ve been subjected to some ridicule and sneers, but I’ve never been mocked and slapped and spat upon by those whom I, in deep agony, would pray for the Father to forgive.
- I have trouble walking, but I’ve never struggled under the weight of an old rugged cross.
- I have pain in my legs, but my head has never been crowned with thorns, my flesh has never been ripped apart by whips, and my hands and feet have never been pierced with nails.
- I sometimes feel like I have a heavy burden to bear, but the sins of the whole world have never been placed on my shoulders.
- My loved ones have hurt for me, but my mother has never gazed up at my mangled body knowing that I was suffering like no person before or since.
- I’ve given vials of blood, but I’ve never shed my blood for an ungrateful sea of humanity.
- I’ve been called many things by nurses (that happens when your last name is “Imel”), but I’ve never been called an imposter and a liar.
- I’ve thought I knew suffering, but when I come to the Table of the Lord and gaze up at the face of the dying One, I’m reminded I don’t know suffering at all.
This Lord’s Day, remember Jesus like He asked. As you gather with God’s people around the Table, remember He suffered for you.