Friday, April 18, 2008

A Living Memory

When you take the Lord's Supper, do you remember the death of Jesus or the life of Jesus? Is the memory with which you partake one of the dead, lifeless body of Jesus hanging on the cross or the vibrant, living body of Jesus ministering to the hurting and the helpless?

As we remember Jesus each Sunday in the supper, we are called first to discern His body in the taking of the bread. Scripture never says a word about the "broken body" of Jesus in connection to the Supper. Was His body broken? Absolutely. But is the memory of His body broken the sole call of the supper? Absolutely not.

There are so many pictures in Scripture of the body of Jesus -- the incarnation of God -- ministering to the hurting and the helpless. In the Supper, I often reflect in my mind upon the body of Jesus blessing little children. The body of Jesus
walking on the water. The body of Jesus on the mountaintop, alone with the Father.

And what about the cup, in memory of "the new covenant in my blood" (1 Corinthians 11.25)? Is the cup simply a reminder of the spilt blood of Jesus at Calvary?

Paul ties the blood of Jesus and the new covenant together, in much the same way that the writer of Leviticus shows how blood is the source of life (see Leviticus 17.11). Blood was the source of Jesus' life, enabling His body to minister to the
helpless and hurting. And His blood is the source of life in the New Covenant, strengthening us to live redemptively, ministering in the way of Jesus to the helpless and hurting.

The more I think of it, the more I come to realize that the Lord's Supper calls us to the memory of a living Savior, not a dead one. To a ministering Savior, not a mutilated one. Why? Because a dead Savior can't save anybody (1 Corinthians
15.17; John 11.25) and the memory of a ministering Savior is the living color picture we need to live redemptively in our time.