And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
“Remember to pick up the dry cleaning.”
“Do you remember the first time you saw that movie?”
“President’s Day is when we remember all of our Presidents.”
“I remember the day I had my first kiss.”
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
We use the word remember in a lot of different ways. But the way many – or maybe most – Christians use it in Communion is simply wrong. Too often, we say that we celebrate communion to remember Jesus and the Last Supper and because He commanded us to do that. But that places the Eucharist in the same realm as remembering July 4 as the day that America’s founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
The Greek word used for remember in the New Testament is anamnesis. Yes, that word is used for remembrance. But I once heard from a bishop that the best antonym, or opposite, of anamnesis is not what we would assume – to forget – but rather to dismember, or pull apart.
The true meaning of remembering Jesus’ in the Last Supper is to reconnect with Him through the Eucharist. It’s not enough to just walk forward, get a piece of bread and some juice or wine, consume them and return to your seat. True communion with Jesus comes when you essentially “time travel” in your heart to receive those things as though Christ himself was placing them in your hands.
In that moment, the bread and wine don’t chemically transform into flesh and blood, but in a mystical way, a real transformation takes place. When you meet face-to-face with Jesus at the altar, He uses those simple elements to work a healing in your heart.
Today, on this Maundy Thursday, attend a service where you can receive Communion. Take that time to truly meet at the altar with the Lord. Let Him bring you directly into His presence, and allow the elements of bread and wine in the Last Supper renew your heart and your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.