While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’
The meal had been long prepared: the plans long made.
This was not a throwaway remark.
The unleavened bread (‘matzah’ – Exodus 12. 18ff), reminiscent of the Israelites’ escape from the bondage of Pharaoh, the rush of the escape and the lack of leaven – now to be the beaten and bruised body of Jesus, giving us freedom from the bondage of our sins.
The four goblets of wine of the seder supper, each reminiscent of one of God’s promises of redemption (Exodus 6. 6-7), each one to toast one of God’s promises – now the dripping blood of the Lamb of God, the blood of the New Covenant, the new promise.
This meal was highly symbolic.
The exodus that God had brought around centuries earlier was happening again.
No more were God’s people to be under bondage or oppression.
God’s people were to be set free.
As we ponder the meaning of Holy Communion, each of us coming with our different slants or angles, let us not forget the deepest and fundamental message of this sacramental Meal: through Jesus Christ, we are set free from the oppression of sin and death.
Thanks be to God!
Almighty God, we thank You for feeding us with the body and blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, and through Him bringing about our salvation. Through Him we offer You our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice. Send us out in the power of Your Spirit, to live and work to Your praise and glory. Amen
(prayer adapted from CofE communion service)
Michael RJ Topple, Lay Preacher and Elder of Chappel URC, Essex