The other night at church, we took the bread and grape juice to remember the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. As my thoughts on the Lord’s Supper have evolved from a purely symbolic ritual to one in which the Lord is personally present, this has become a special time for me.
In this particular moment, I remembered something about that original scene.
Jesus gives each disciple the bread and the wine. To each of them, he gives his body to be broken and his blood for the forgiveness of sins. For the first time, it occurred to me that these disciples might not have liked each other all that much.
Think of what they were when they were recruited: James and John are two youngsters who come from a family with connections and possess the arrogance that comes with that (remember their mother asking Jesus to grant them positions of power?). Simon was a radical who hated the Romans; Levi was a tax collector who had worked with them.
This is not a Sunday School class. This is a group that otherwise would not have existed, if it were not for Jesus. Even at the very end, Jesus had to command them to stop bickering over places of authority and love each other, something he wouldn’t have to insist upon if it already came naturally to them.
At the very end, he shared the bread and wine with each of them. When he was gone, his followers shared it with each other.
That means they had to pass the bread and wine to people they might not know. Or like.
Maybe that meant passing the bread and wine to people they resented. Maybe in those moments, it forced them to look that person in the eye and, remembering the Lord’s words, understand that they can no longer hate someone upon whom God has poured His grace.
We don’t get to decide who our brothers and sisters are.
We each chew the bread and drink the wine in the same fashion, just as we all are in need of the same Body and Blood. There is no place for resentment here.
And we cannot do anything in remembrance of him if we think otherwise.