"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Week 9: "Do This in Remembrance of Me," Part 2

I try to go into each week of The James 1:22 Project with an open mind, without anticipating what that week's experience will be like. I think, however, that at the outset of this last week I believed that by sheer force of will and determination I could make myself experience the Lord's Supper in a more emotional or deeply spiritual way.

I took the Lord's Supper on Thursday with my small group and on Good Friday evening with my church. I had prepared during the week by focusing my Bible reading (and listening) on the gospel accounts of Jesus's last day. I also spent extra prayer time in thanksgiving (as Jesus broke the bread and gave thanks) and self-examination (as the Apostle Paul admonishes we ought to do).

On Thursday and Friday, I experienced wonderful fellowship and moving worship and prayer. Although the Lord's Supper was a part of both evenings, I was a little disappointed that it did not feel significantly different than it had before.

Reflecting on the week's assignment now, however, I realize that the Lord's Supper means more to me than it ever has. At the end of this week, I've come to appreciate that what is so special about the Lord's Supper is not that it is such a very spiritual thing to do but that it is such a very tangible thing to do. It is a material and palpable reminder of the reality of Jesus's life and death. Jesus and the twelve sat together in a real room in a real house. There was real bread and wine, not that different from the bread and juice we still use for the Lord's Supper.

As believers, we can do a lot of things to remember Jesus. We can read the gospel. We can sing beautiful hymns about Him. We can think about Him and reflect on what He did. The Lord's Supper, however, is special in that it is so very tangible, and thus reminds us that Jesus's death is not just words in a book or a song, a thought in our heads, or a feeling in our hearts. Jesus was flesh and blood, broken and poured out for us. He was and is as real as the bread we eat and the juice we drink when we take the Lord's Supper.

I don't remember my paternal grandfather. He died when I was very young. I've seen some photos and heard my Grandma talk about him. I recently discovered a box of his things in my parents' attic. There were yearbooks, report cards, and letters and momentos from his service in the Pacific during World War II. Going through those things, my grandfather was more real to me than he ever had been before. It's one thing to hear about our ancestors, but it's something else to put your hands on something that belonged to them. The Lord's Supper, I think, is a little like that. Jesus didn't leave behind any momentos for us to put our hands on. If he had, we might be tempted to worship the things instead of Him. Jesus, in His great wisdom, left the Lord's Supper for us as a physical and material reminder of Himself and His death for us.

Next week, I will turn my attention to the first of several "one another" commands. Until then, grace and peace to you.


  1. Nathan,

    Thank you for sharing your insight into taking our Lord's Supper. Last week during our fast, I felt the same way about not only communion, but fasting as well. They are both tangible acts, ways to use this physical world to worship our spiritual Father. He loves us enough to give us many ways to worship Him.
    We have a pretty GREAT God : )

  2. That's a great point about fasting. I feel the same way. Fasting is a way of expressing to God that we love Him more than the good things he has given us. I love giving good things to my boys, and I love to see them enjoy what I've given them. When I come home from work, however, all I want is for them to put down their toys and come running into my arms. I think fasting is a little like that. We put down the good things He has given us and go running into His arms.