Originally scheduled for
You have seen it
often: the formal goodbye. It seems that human beings need a
ceremony in which to say goodbye. It's a form of ritual; symbolic
communication, which is the highest form of speech, is necessary.
Sometimes it becomes a cliché; think of how many times you've heard
the phrase, "getting a gold watch" to mean someone's retirement
party. We do things that way.
Christ did the same thing with Passover. He took this last Passover
with his disciples and used it to symbolize his departure. He knew
that that night he would be betrayed, and the next day would bring
his crucifixion. He knew that he was our atonement sacrifice, and
therefore took the symbolism of Passover — the sacrificial lamb —
and made it his own.
It's also true that human beings, when they part, want to have a
tangible memory. We have pictures of those were no longer with us;
we also have memorabilia (how many of us have dad's favorite watch,
knife, tie tack or who knows what else living in our desk drawer?)
Human beings seem to need something physical to remind them of the
one who is no longer physically there.
Christ understood that too. He gave us the simple symbols of bread
and wine as touch points for our human senses.
Finally, parting hurts most when we know it's a permanent. So, even
if we are deluding ourselves, we promise each other "we'll see you
again." The human soul rebels against the idea of a permanent
parting. If you've ever been to the funeral of someone who was not a
Christian you will see this desire displayed. When we know the
parting is permanent, a piece of us is lost.
Christ knows that too. At the end of the atonement there is the
resurrection. His disciples would see him again. And the Scripture
promises to us that Christ will return again — and when he does, he
will bring with him all those saints who are temporarily parted from
us now. For the Christian, even death is a temporary parting. So as
you take the bread and wine, remember this: He shall return.