Bread and Blood for Every Meal

Jesus commanded his disciples to do this in remembrance of me after a time of breaking bread and pouring wine.[1] The last supper of Christ is recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Each account show Jesus instructing His followers to eat and remember. Consuming the bread would help his disciples remember the body of Christ which was about to be broken. Drinking the wine would remind them of the blood which was about to be poured out of His body. He would die as a substitute for our sins and He was about to rise back to life. Jesus tells us to remember him in this communion. The Eucharist is observed by many Churches and provides a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Christ. O’Donnell and Maas argue in their book, Spiritual Traditions for the Contemporary Church, that this annual, monthly or weekly remembrance is not enough. We should be living in Christ sacrifice at all times. They say that, “we are always richer, stronger, more faithful to our true identity when we are living in the conscious awareness of God.”[2] There is no doubt that the Christian identity is based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This anamnesis is defined by the Christian community’s ability to recall the whole work of Jesus.[3]

The Passover meal is just the beginning of the communion experience: O’Donnell and Mass remind us that, “the Lord’s Supper is the central focus of the Eucharistic rite, but that is never its conclusion.”[4] Remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus is to remember our inclusion into His body. The symbol of consuming the flesh and blood of Christ could be no less vivid! We are a part of him and so must continue His work. While the work of salvation is finished,[5] the preaching, teaching and making of disciples continue onward.[6] The Church is united in this cause on a daily basis.

We should live in continual remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. Partaking of the body of Christ is a powerful reminder of the brokenness he endured on our behalf. We should recall our role within the His body and to continue His work on earth until he returns. We would do well to remember that communion is more than remembering a past experience. The Eucharist should remind us that Christ has died, Christ is risen and that Christ will rise again.[7] All time belongs to him and we are caught up in God’s rescue plan in motion.

Eating bread and drinking wine can be viewed as a symbolic or literal bonding with the body of Christ. O’Donnell and Maas describe a cult of adoration that surrounded the Eucharist that would be later renounced by the Protestant Reformers.[8] When the bread and wine become literal flesh and blood you run the risk of misplaced worship. The intended worship of Jesus becomes the unintended worship of manmade rituals. We must be careful, in our daily observation of the Eucharist, not to elevate the symbols of Christ’s body over the significance of His sacrifice.

Live out of Christ's death and resurrection every day. Remember that the bread and the wine are symbols of our bond with Christ. We are an extension of his body in this world and have an entire generation of people to love.

[1] Luke 22.19
[2] Robin Mass and Gabriel O’Donnell. (Spiritual Traditions for the Contemporary Church. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990.) p. 420.
[3] Mass, Spiritual Traditions. p.421.
[4] Ibid., p. 422.
[5] John 19:30.
[6] Matthew 28:19-20.
[7] Mass, Spiritual Traditions. p.421.
[8] Ibid., p.424.
Brent ColbyComment