My friend Tim challenged me to go deeper with this. So, I have been thinking about it for the last few days and meditating some more about why Communion is so significant right now in our time and place.
I keep going back to mystery and transcendence. So much of our world today is “real” there is no imagination. There is no mystery. Our movies leave nothing to the imagination when it comes to sex, violence, or anything…really. Neither do sports. I was struck by this when I heard a caller on the local sports station talk about his experience as a boy going to his first Tiger game. He said that when he would watch a game on TV it was black and white. He had to imagine the grass being green, the colors of the uniforms, and the color of the stadium. He said that when he walked through the tunnel to enter his seats for the first time he was blown away by the color, the green grass, the green seats, the whiteness of the baseballs, the brownness of the dirt, the blueness of the steel. It seared deeply in his memory.
We have lost that. Now we have ‘High Def’ TVs were you can even see the sweat drip off the foreheads of the players and the individual blades of grass sway in the breeze. Mystery is gone.
That is the beautiful thing about the supper. There is a mystery to it. There is something that we can’t get our hands around. There is an engagement of our imagination as we enter into the presence of the raised Jesus with us at the meal (or snack as it is now). If we will engage our imaginations in the mystery of this sacrament then we can regain something that has been lost. We can enter into the story of our faith and with the church invisible taste and see that the Lord is good. In a culture where our imaginations are stolen from us, actually, where we willingly give our imaginations away, this is our one opportunity to engage them again and embrace the mystery that is supping with the Lord Jesus!
The second thing is transcendence. It seems that much of the Christian life is considered to be humdrum and boring. But, oh, the supper is anything but. It is in this supper that we enter into an experience with Jesus that is beyond us and takes from the normal and we enter into communion, into fellowship, into the presence of our Jesus with one another.
People want to know what is so different about the Christian life? Is it any different from being a good Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu? Yes, in every way! It is found in the transcendent reality of the supper. The supper should bring us into an experience that changes us and draws us into a passionate and emotional and physical and spiritual engagement with our Jesus. With the one who really died for us. With the one who looked at our sin and our turning away and went to the cross anyway. With the one who conquered death and thereby made us conquerors too. With the one whose love for the Father led him to that cross. With the one who sits at the right hand of his Father and intercedes for us. This is the transcendent reality that the Christian alone can experience as he or she eats and drinks with the Lord at his table.
Mystery and transcendence. These two things have been lost in our churches, our culture, and our world. They have gone the way of the dinosaur. It is in the Supper that we can reclaim them, reengage with them, and get lost with them again.
If you want a great picture of getting lost in the mystery and transcendence of the supper grab a copy of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis. The interaction with Aslan and Lucy in the house of the Magician is amazing.
Tim, I know that this barely scratches the surface. I can hardly put all this into words. I am still processing and am thankful you keep pushing and drawing me deeper.