Keep the Feast: Body and Blood

Amy wrote a few weeks ago about the unique association between baptism and Easter (you can read her post here). She wrote about the truths expressed in the sacrament—that despite what you may have come to believe to be true, you belong to Jesus. You are alive in him, you share his resurrection, and you are a part of God’s family.

But Easter offers us a great time to reflect on the sacrament of communion as well. When I was younger, I used to have an incredibly somber attitude toward communion. Everything in the way it was presented told me that it was special and that it was serious. And of course, communion is very much both of those things. But I warped that sense of seriousness into something a little sinister. I began to think that it was my job to feel as guilty as possible. I would strain my imagination trying to see Jesus on the cross, feel all of his pain, and then I would try to hear in my head a booming voice declare: “All of this happened because of you.”

There’s some truth there, too. The wages of sin is death, and all of us must bear the knowledge that in his great love Jesus went to the cross. However, Easter reminds us that this is not the end of the story. The resurrection means that Jesus endured all of that suffering and then conquered death. As a result, our primary posture as believers is not one of grief and shame, but of liberation and celebration.

Lent is certainly a time in which we feel acutely our mortality and our sin. It makes sense during that season to approach the table with humble gratitude.

In Easter, though, we add to that the celebration that this body was broken, this blood was spilled that we might have life and have it abundantly. Even more than that, we take the mortal truths of Lent and turn them on their heads. We are made of dust—we are made of stuff. But at the table we see that even the things of this world can be made sacred, can participate in the life of Christ. If that’s possible for plain old bread and simple wine, just imagine what’s possible for us!
Finally, Easter is a season of hope. Taking communion isn’t just a looking back, just a remembrance. It’s an affirmation of Christ’s presence here and now and a joyful anticipation that one day we shall be with him forever. In Judaism, the seder meal, celebrated by Jesus and represented for us in communion, ends with the words: “Next time in Jerusalem!” As you take communion during our fifty days of feasting, keep the feast with the joyful hope—next time with Christ!