This is another part of our worship service from last night regarding the Last Supper. It seems fitting on this Good Friday.
On this night we remember the meal that Jesus gave us, the meal that we celebrate every week. A piece of bread, a sip of wine. This is the body and blood of Christ. The apostle Paul tells us that in this meal we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” This meal is a proclamation of death.
But it, like the foot washing, is also an act of dying to ourselves. Jesus tells us that the road he traveled is the road we must travel. The cross he bore is also our cross. The death he died is also our death. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” Jesus says. The weekly act of receiving communion is a part of taking up that cross and dying to ourselves. Weekly we are reminded that we are in need of the body and blood of Christ in order to forgive our sinful selves. We come to the altar, and kneel, lowering ourselves to our knees. This position is one of penitence and humility. Such a position forces us to die to ourselves. We put out our hands while we are on our knees, almost as a beggar, knowing that we are undeserving of the grace we are about to receive, and yet knowing that this grace is our only hope. In this act of receiving the body and blood of Christ our pride is stripped away as we come to the altar and ask for forgiveness.
This meal is not to be only a weekly occurrence of humbling ourselves. No, this meal reminds us that we should always be on our knees, always acting in humility, always aware that we are creatures in need of God’s grace. This meal does not end our week, but begins it. We begin the week on our knees, in submission to our Lord.
This meal is a reminder of the cross that Jesus bore, but it should also remind us that we are called to always die to ourselves, to always be in a position to be receptive to God’s grace, to “Take up our cross,” as Jesus said.