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Communion Meditations (2015)

Blessing the Food

Originally scheduled for August 23

We can sometimes learn something from what the writers of the Gospels do not say. It is a reasonable assumption that Jesus bless the food and gave thanks and practically every meal he ate. His disciples would see that as a reasonable thing for him to do. Interestingly, however, the writers of the Gospels record only four instances where Jesus is explicitly said to have blessed and given thanks for the food.

·         Two of those instances were the feeding of the 5000, and the feeding of the 4000.

·         Another such instance was the meal at Emmaus after the resurrection.

·         The fourth was the Lord’s Supper.

Apparently the fact that Jesus blessed the food and gave thanks for it was significant in these four instances. Examining the three which are given first, we see in fact there are two reasons why the Gospel writers might have made it explicit in those instances.

·         In the first two instances the meal was going to be greatly multiplied. His giving thanks and blessing the food was not a formality, but rather essential to the fact that the meal itself would be miraculously multiplied.

·         At the meal at Emmaus we read of the disciples that “their eyes were opened.” It was not just another meal; they learned from the Law and the Prophets the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.

Both of these cases apply to Communion. May I submit to you that both of these cases still are of relevance to us today. We may see some lessons which are not usually connected directly with Communion.

First, we should not remain content with Communion being something that is “only for us.” Christ intends that Communion, along with the Gospel, should be spread as far and wide as we are able. In so doing, we may point out to those who are considering the Christian faith that Communion is a symbol of God’s grace — mercy which we do not deserve. As such it is also a symbol of God’s love. But perhaps most important, is a symbol of God’s plan. God did not conceive the Resurrection as a stopgap measure to fix something that went wrong. It was “Plan A” all along.

Also, as Christ opened the eyes of his disciples at Emmaus we need to should approach him with open eyes. In Communion we remember his suffering and death which he voluntarily undertook on our behalf. We should grow in our knowledge of the faith, and that growth should spur us to greater obedience. Growth in knowledge and obedience however are not sufficient; we should also grow in thankfulness for all the blessings he gives us.

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