Bible reading for Thursday, April 21, 2011: Luke 22
One of the more controversial things I did in my first year at The Gathering was to start serving wine as well as grape juice for communion. Unfortunately, my execution left a lot to be desired (huge understatement), and we decided as Elders to put it on hold for a while.
Yet we so believed in the importance of the symbols that Jesus gave us for communion that a year later we re-instituted it, but this time with proper teaching about communion. Here is the short version (the full version can be found at http://bit.ly/tgmv073):
Jesus instituted communion at the Last Supper; it is based on the Jewish Passover, which celebrates (not coincidentally) Israel’s deliverance from slavery. Jesus was hours away from delivering the world from its slavery to sin.
Jesus took the elements of the Passover meal and reinterpreted them in light of himself. Bread represents LIFE (“I am the Bread of Life” John 6:35) and wine represents JOY (“He makes…wine that gladdens the heart of man.” Ps. 104:15). Wine is our reminder that Christ’s sacrifice should fill us with joy. Even if you choose to use juice instead, the wine is there as a visual reminder of the joy of our salvation. A solemn joy, like a wedding, yet joy nonetheless.
I am inclined to think there should be a little smile on your face whenever you take communion. So this Easter Sunday, when you take communion, take it with joy as you remember what your loving Savior has done for you.