While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Mark 14:22 (NIV)
Looking back fondly on that night of the last dinner, what sensations do we get? Was it a sad occasion? Or was it a pinnacle of years of work? Was it an ending or was it a beginning? Inside of the wisdom and grace of God, was there more going on than we can imagine? Does our Savior use every moment to guide us Heaven-ward? Would it be just like our Shepherd to always lead, protect and care for us?
As Jesus celebrates the ceremonial sacrificing of the lamb of Passover, He draws the attention to Himself. How could anyone have imagined that the long celebrated and solemn ritual was just a small foreshadow of what was actually happening that night? Yet even in the face of all the mighty forces at work, Jesus continues to guide us forward into the light.
Our Savior takes the bread. He breaks it. He gives thanks to the Father for it. And He gives it. He says take it! This is my body! This is part of Me! Take it! Eat it! Take it inside of you! Put Me inside of You! Was He speaking of a familiar element of our diet? Was He speaking of our bread? Or was He speaking of His Bread? Was He speaking of Himself? Was He speaking of His Spirit? Was it the Spirit that flows directly from the Father? Was it a life-giving, a bonding and an endearing relationship? Does it enter deep within us? Does it go below the surface of our bodies and into our inner workings? Does it go right to the source which runs this machine of a body we wear? Does it become the vital substance which sustains us and gives us life? Does our strength to live come to us from this nourishment?
Today many churches celebrate this newer ceremony. The Jews had their ceremony of the Passover. They had their moment to stop and reflect on what God meant for them. They had a chance to let the significance of what God had done for them sink in. Jesus gives us this newer ceremony. Is it just a ritual? Is it just another moment to celebrate? Do we use it to enjoy ourselves and come together as a family? Or is there deeper significance which should penetrate our consciousness and our hearts?
When we celebrate a public national holiday what do we do? We cease to go about our typical daily routine of jobs and school. But do we dedicate ourselves that day to the reason that day was set aside? In our religion too, when we celebrate something there, is it something deep and meaningful? Does it last more than a few moments, minutes or hours? Is it something we routinely hold then return to our own pursuits of pleasure and living?
Jesus gives us His ceremony. He gives us His Bread. He gives us His blood. What do we do with it? Do we take it? Do we really take it? Do we ingest Him into ourselves? Do we take a very part of our Savior into our interiors? Do we take it with the intention of feeding our lives? Do we take Jesus to heart and soul? Is it Him which we need for nourishment? Are we doing it right now? Or are we running through the motions of a common ritual? Is Jesus entering us at THIS VERY MOMENT?
Dear Jesus, thank You for giving Your life for us. Thank you for giving us the ceremony of the Bread and Wine. Please help us to celebrate this ceremony each day within our hearts. Nothing about it do we want to make external. We would take Your very nature, Your Spirit, and Your life within us. We would not leave this experience for special times or days. But let it be a constant and vital state of heart. We need You. We need You inside of us. Let us take that Bread for our very lives.