The Eucharist and The Love of God
The Eucharist is a way of renewing my commitment to Christ and His Church. A way of saying I have been adopted into the family of God to show outwardly, what has been and continues to occur inwardly in my life. It is a profound way of saying I am a Jesus follower. I partake of the bread and wine because I stumble sometimes I fall flat on my face and need the love of the amazing savior we have; I partake of the bread and wine because I don’t always know how to live and need a wonderful Lord to show the way. Jesus fulfills both of those roles and so much more.
In The Eucharist, we come to the table of Jesus and remember who he is, what he did, how we are saved, what it means to the people of God, and where we are headed in and through the person and work of Jesus on the cross. We remember, acknowledge, discover, and embrace our true reality—the Kingdom of God. We throw our lot in with Jesus who is the bread of life. Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. Once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me. Anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” (John 6 The Message)
Real life is found in Jesus alone. In the Eucharist, the presence of the God comes near. By accepting the bread and wine, we recommit to following Jesus. The love of God is present in a real way in this ritual not just in the bread and wine, but also in the motions taken, prayers offered, our response to, and the aftereffects of it. By taking communion, we unify as the body of Christ and are able to let the bread and wine nourish us in such a way that we can extend the limitless and unconditional love and grace of God to others.
Brother David Steindl-Rast gives us important instructions when he advises us to “love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise- then you will discover the fullness of your life.” Sufi poet Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
The purpose and meaning of communion is accepting and responding to God’s freely offered and poured out love. Love is the proper response to the Eucharist. When we understand this than we will be able to see why we take communion and why it is so sacred. Not the bread or wine, but the proclamation of love is what makes the rite of communion so very important. A Yiddish Saying: “You may try a hundred things, but love alone will release you from yourself. So never flee from love–not even from love in an earthly guise–for it is a preparation for the supreme Truth.” The supreme truth is that God is love and that God loves you as you are not as you should be, because no one is who they should be. God loves us to our better self, so that we may be all that we should and ought to be.
The Eucharist reminds us how amazing and great is the love of God. God forsook heaven incarnated on earth, born in a cold, lonely manger lived the life of a homeless mystic dying on a cross weeping and forgiving not because he was having a bad day or for fun, but because he loved you! Yes You! You reading this! God died for you! God died on a cross to reconcile all of creation with his kingdom, because the supreme truth is God loves you! Yes you! Yes! Yes!
As, I wrote that last paragraph I was amazed by the awesomeness of the love of God for us, for you, for me, for everyone. If you doubt God’s love for you just read that paragraph again. Let it soak in. If you still doubt, read the parable of the prodigal (Luke 15) and picture yourself in the shoes of the prodigal. Know that God is chasing after. He wants you back! He died for that to happen. My hope is for each person, believer and non-believer alike to grasp the amazing and awesome love God has for you.
Know that God loves you not as you but as you should be!
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