The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 ESV).
After our worship gathering, several of us continued our fellowship with each other over lunch. We waited for each other to get our food. We joined hands. Then, we gave thanks for our food and our shared life in Jesus.
What followed was a simple conversation over a meal. I am the newbie in the group. I'm still meeting people, learning names, and listening to stories. During the conversation over this meal, I learned that the brother and sister across the table had served as missionaries in a distant country in a city where I know a precious brother in Christ. As we visited about their love for this church, I suggested that they needed to keep him and that group of disciples in prayer because they have been through some trying times.
"What do you mean by 'trying times'? Do you mind telling us what the problems are?" they asked with loving concern.
"I'm sorry," I replied, "I believe you need to get the specifics from one of the team members. Just please, keep them in your prayers."
"No problem," they assured me, "one of the families will be staying with us next weekend. We will find out more and pray with them, then."As we talked a little bit longer, I learned that the family coming to visit was the one I know! Not only that, I am hoping to see them the following Sunday when we gather to worship. They all may even sing a song in the language where they are on a mission.
Wow! I was over a thousand miles from my home, working with a church I've grown to love deeply. Plus, I was learning about a reunion with a brother that I love from the other side of the planet who would be joining us next Sunday!
All of sudden, my food tasted better. My mood brightened. Anticipation filled my heart.
Next Lord's Day, I will get to celebrate being a part of a family bigger than our world — a family that transcends space, time, and even death. The world may be a big place, but meals with brothers and sisters reduce the size, deepen our relationships, and increase our anticipation of reunion.
The Lord's Supper has a major focus on remembering Jesus' death. However, the apostle, Paul, reminds us that The Supper is more than just remembering and focusing on the body of Jesus on the cross. We are also called to discern and to recognize (1 Corinthians 11:29-30) that we — those of us who share the bread together — are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
Jesus' body connects us. We belong to each other in eternal and distance-transcending ways. We share this simple meal to anticipate Jesus' coming to eliminate the distance that separates us (1 Corinthians 11:26). A day is coming when we will join Jesus in the great wedding feast in the Father's presence when Jesus returns (Revelation 19:9). Full reunion with all who love Jesus will be ours!
Who do you know who loves Jesus that you are missing today? Rejoice that distance — whether in life or through death — will be erased... gone... eliminated... and banished, forever, in our reunion with Jesus and each other(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
My anticipated reunion next Sunday with a dear brother from the other side of the world will be wonderful! I will spend this week waiting for time to pass until I can see him — my week will be full of anticipation! Likewise, my anticipated reunion with all whom I love who have "graduated to be with Jesus" will be even more glorious. My time at The Table next week will be full of joy in renewed fellowship. This earthly reunion will be my reminder of an even deeper anticipated joy and the greater glory of our forever reunion that will happen when Jesus returns.
How do I know?
How can I be so sure this great reunion will happen?
Because Jesus died for me. I remember this promise in our simple meal we call The Supper.
Because I take this special, yet simple, meal in anticipation of his coming again. That day will bring reunion, victory, and the best celebration meal any of us have ever experienced.
As we take this bread and drink this wine, let's have it take us far beyond bread and wine. Let's remember what Jesus has done for us. Let's recognize that we share this meal with brothers and sisters across our world each week. Let's anticipate the day when the distance of time, space, and death no longer can separate us from all those we love in Jesus!
Prayer for the Bread:
Holy and precious Father, thank you! Thank you for memory that allows us to reach back and cherish the love of Jesus that conquered death for us. Thank you for a fellowship that knits our hearts to each other in love as we are joined together into Jesus' body as we share this bread. Most of all, Father, we thank you today for anticipation: our anticipation of Jesus' return, our anticipation of death being banished, and our anticipation of joyous reunion! We thank you, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Prayer for the Cup:
Almighty God and righteous Father, thank you for the blood that Jesus shed to forgive our sins and pay the price for our redemption from sin, death, and hell. We know that gift also provided for our adoption into your forever family. Thank you! In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.