You may need a little more Eucharist in your diet!
Last week I was listening to Rob Bell being interviewed on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast. The interviewer, Bo Sanders, asked Rob a very interesting question. As many of you know Bell was pastor of the very influential Mars Hill Church in Michigan before handing the reins over last year and moving to Los Angeles to pursue new open doors.
Sanders asked him if he was starting a church again from scratch what he would do different. I have to admit, I was surprised by the answer as was Sanders. So what did he say?
“I would have Eucharist alot. And I would make it really clear to everybody that the Eucharist is our only hope. Because otherwise, there’s a thousand forces – the entropy is overwhelming…preferences and particularities…there are a thousand ways for a church to go in all these different directions – you end up just barely being able to hold it all together. But if you have the bread and the wine, and on a really regular basis, you put the bread and wine on the table and you say “Okay everybody – here you go: Body broken, blood poured out…”
He went on to clarify that the very essence of the Eucharist is relational. You put the bread and the wine on a table in front of every one and ask, “Has everyone got there rent paid? Anyone have any medical bills?” (Sander’s account can be read here)
It seems like in the last year I have developed a whole new perspective, and love, for the Lord’s Supper. A little over 10 years ago I was assistant pastor at a church plant that did Communion every week. Not only did we do it every week, I was expected to lead it with a devotion. In all honestly, it seemed pretty redundant to me. Probably because of my Jesus Movement roots which jettisoned alot of liturgy and sacrament, I was brought up with the impression that communion was something to be done quick and painlessly once a month or so.
Now, I see the Table of the Lord in a whole different light. Like Bell, if I were to ever start a church again I would make Communion together a much more visible part of our togetherness.
And why would I do this?
Because the Body and Blood of our Lord is the antidote to the Curse. Christ took that curse of sin and death into himself on the cross. He destroyed it’s power through his broken body and shed blood…and now he gives us the cure by offering up himself through the communal experience of a common table.
It’s interesting that when I read the Didiche , which is a first century church writing helping pastors and leaders in their role, I realized what an important part the Eucharist played in the life of early believers. Singing and teaching, which are central to today’s Sunday morning services, take a secondary place to the corporate gathering at the Lord’s Table.
So, my recommendation? Add a lot more Eucharist to your diet…it’s good for what ails you!
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