The early church was accused of being cannibalistic. They were thought to be such because they feasted on the body and blood of Jesus the Christ. This was an unthinkable ritual and act. It was seen as barbaric and it was a stumbling block to the world around them. The Eucharist split churches in the 1700s and was a cause in Jonathan Edwards being released from his position in Northampton.
Today communion is a mundane and humdrum ritual that nobody really notices. This is a tragedy.
The celebration of the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, Communion is one of the most beautiful acts that we as Christians get to participate in. When we do we experience the presence of Christ and join with the great of cloud of witnesses in a spiritual act that bonds us as the body of Christ. How can this astounding and beautiful means of grace become something that is largely ignored?
My senior year at Central Michigan University as new church was planted in Mt. Pleasant, MI. This church was unlike any I had ever seen. It met in an airplane hangar. Yes, that’s right an airplane hangar. The seats were couches and plastic chairs. The room was dimly lit and cold in the winter. There was nothing routine about this church. It was determined that the celebration of the Eucharist would occur whenever it seemed right to “us and the Holy Spirit.”
The first time that Amy and I celebrated communion there we were amazed. I was moved to the core of my being and changed that evening. The bread was homemade without yeast and the juice was in a 64 oz containers next to a stack of 12 oz cups. Barry, the pastor, stood and read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Then he said (atleast this is how I remember it), “This was supper. It was a meal that was shared. Jesus is not stingy in his grace or his mercy. Come, take, eat to your fill and drink till your thirst is quenched. Seconds, thirds, fourths, whatever you need Jesus will provide. Come, taste and see that the Lord is good.” We partook and we were filled.
I was left in wonder and awe. This was a far cry from the thimble of juice and crumb of bread that I was used to. We celebrated together the beauty and wonder of the crucifixion and resurrection. We marveled in the grace of God. We were a community perfectly united in a feast of grace. The bread was warm and smelled wonderfully. The juice was cold and refreshing.
I was changed.
I was left in awe.
I got lost and found in the mystery and limitlessness of God’s goodness.
I feasted that night on the body and blood. That night I became a cannibal and was forever changed.
Are you a cannibal?