I have been pondering the Lord’s Supper of late. It is something so central to the historic Christian faith and practice, yet it is so often misunderstood, argued about, and trivialized. It is my overly rational nature to want to systematically analyze everything that I encounter, and yet when it comes to the Eucharist, the desire to over analyze flees from me. I have an opinion about doctrines such as trans-substantiation and con-substantiation. I am willing to debate about them vigorously, because of the implications they carry for the Atonement of Christ. But the meaning (to use a loaded word) of the Eucharist is not bound in these things. At the end of the day, the Eucharist is experiential in nature.
The best way for me to illustrate this is with a short excerpt from my rather boring life. Yesterday morning was not good for me. After a long night of battling our toddler, trying to get her to sleep, I awoke to my wonderful wife telling me that the car (our reliable one) wouldn’t start. With work, studies, and a slew of other things to do already, this was just the straw that broke this camel’s back. After dropping Janna off at daycare and Sarah off at school, I left Wilmore to run some of the errands of the day. After fighting traffic for an hour, I finally returned to school, more exasperated than when I left. As I pull into a parking space, though, it hit me. Today was Wednesday. At 11:00 there would be a Eucharist service. My stress instantly dissolved, and I rushed to the chapel to partake of the life-giving body and blood of Christ.
But what is it about the Eucharist that has such a profound impact on the partaker? I can only tell you what I know in my deepest being to be true. When I partake of the elements, I partake of the divine nature of the Trinity. I experience grace in such measures that it breaks my heart, mercy in such measures that it leads me into thanksgiving and praise, and love in such measures that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I belong to God, and he is my own.
When I partake of the Eucharist, I find the deepest sense of brokenness, and the deepest sense of Shalom – peace and wholeness.
As it turns out, the Eucharist service was canceled yesterday. Though I was certainly saddened by this a tad bit, even the anticipation of the Sacrament brought me abounding peace. And that just confirms to me the unending, unfathomable grace of God.