Our Lenten Devotion for Friday, March 11, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 NIV
“Incarnation and Eucharist are the two expressions of the immense, self-giving love of God. And so the sacrifice o n the cross and the sacrifice at the table are one sacrifice, one complete, divine self-giving that reaches out to all humanity in time and space.” (from With Burning Hearts by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 68)
I can still remember being in the chapel when it came time for Holy Communion. While we were singing the communion hymn, the organist stopped playing. There was no carpeting on the floor, so the sound of the worshippers moving down the aisle seemed to echo off the walls and high ceiling. That memory still stands out in my mind today as a reminder that those who came to partake of Jesus’ body and blood came, as if to say, “I share in his death.” In that moment, I felt as if I was truly part of Jesus’ body, the Church. But isn’t that what the self-giving love of Jesus comes to do? It draws us all together in the Eucharist and proclaims a solidarity of oneness for all who are in Christ Jesus.
For me, the Eucharist being available to all of us together reminds me of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Beloved Community”. That is to say that when we gather together as one, we become the incarnation of Christ in the world – we embody God in the world that God created for us. When we act in together community, we become especially beloved, but we also become even more empowered to do God’s work for God’s people.
Heavenly Father, I give thanks to you that in the Body and Blood of Jesus, you have shown me your love and also fed me with the faith of others. Amen.