(Image courtesy of camerahacker.com)
I have gotten to the point that, when I have a very stressful day, I find myself wanting nothing more than Holy Communion. There is something so calming about receiving that sacrament. It instant brings me peace. That is exactly what it is supposed to do. In the United Methodist Church, a sacrament is one of the tangible ways we experience God’s Grace. Is there anything more calming than knowing that you have touched, tasted, and seen God’s Grace? That you, despite your unworthiness, have been given this most precious gift, this gateway to God?
Whether we use wafers, one loaf, or many pita rounds, we do use one cup. That cup is a sanctuary for me. To taste the goodness of the Lord, to know that God’s love is held within the thin walls of that vessel, and soon held within the fragile walls of this vessel… might make me so intensely sorry that I am a sinner that I could be depressed. However, that phase of Communion is quickly replaced with gratitude and joy. I have heard the good news and I have seen God’s light. I have been given a gift so precious, so special that only God alone could bring it to me. And there you have one of the most unique aspects of the Eucharist: God brought this gift to us. Up until that point in human history, we brought our gifts to God, first in the Tabernacle, then the Temple in Jerusalem. Then, for his own reasons, Jesus Christ brought this gift to us, and does it still today. When I serve Communion and have the cup, I extend it toward those who are receiving ever so slightly. Even if they do not notice or understand, I am saying that this is offered to you, brought to you. From that first cup Christ himself blessed to the most recent, Christ keeps pouring himself out for us.
Has there ever been such a cup of love?
“Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ ” (Matthew 26:27-28 NRS).