Sunday, November 14, 2004

Bread and Wine

I've taken the communion meal more times than I can count. I've taken it in so many ways - big fluffy loaves, tiny wafer biscuits the size of a watch face, slices of Gardenia torn to a hundred bits, or Hup Seng cream crackers - you name it, I've had it. Whether its Ribena, Australian red wine or Fanta grape - served in silver chalices, plastic Yomeishu cups, or from a packet grape drink - I've downed it with vigor. I've served it, been served it, and said my marriage vows with it. I've done it at the altar, in ramshackle beach chalets, and on a cold tin roof of a car under the starlit sky. But in whatever form or occasion it's come to me, it has never ceased to do its 'magic'.

Each and every time the bread and the cup comes to me, powerful truths become real - sinking in and permeating my being like the flavours of the bread and the fragrant warmth of wine (or sweetness of Ribena!)

I like to take my time with the bread. Savouring its goodness, extracting every morsel of spiritual reality. The bread is about who I am - a broken vessel, a fragile loaf shred in pieces. Broken by sin. Damaged and wounded. It's about who God is - the One broken for me, smote on the cross, bearing the full brunt of God's fury against sin. It's about what I am called to be - to be broken and given to others in love and service, just as He was. The bread is about who I am, who God is, and what I am called to be.

And the cup. O the cup! There is nothing like real wine at the table. The way it swirls around the tongue, aromatizes the nose, and warms the body. Every drink of the cup is about who I am - a sinner, helpless and in need of mercy. The cup is about who God is - the One who poured out His blood for my forgiveness. The cup is about who I am called to be - poured out like a libation sacrifice.

Symbols binding up reality. Holding up the truth for us to see.

Who I am.

Who God is.

What I am called to be.

The bread and the cup. Just as He prescribed - do it as often as you can, always remembering... Infused with meaning, never ceasing to transform. Always recapturing a glimpse of the divine. Always renewing my heart. Always redefining my mortality, His mercy and my purpose.

The table is an eternal invitation. Come, eat.

But an invitation that is adequately met only by the cry 'Maranatha!' Come Lord Jesus!

Come in all Your fullness and grace and truth. Here and now.
Bear upon us all that You are and all You call us to be.
Again and again, till You come in Your glory.

Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.


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