Do You Remember?
I remember my hands shaking a little as I grasped the small broken piece of saltine cracker then the tiny glass cup full of grape juice.
I was eight years old, and it was the first time I was taking the Lord’s Supper in my small rural church in central Mississippi. My mom and dad both had given me a separate lecture of the importance of being careful in my handling, and I felt incredibly grown up in the pew that day as I didn’t spill one drop.
Admittedly, my superiority made me feel set apart from my peers. I remember looking down my nose at my friends and sister as I placed the cup into the back of the pew in front of me. I had made it to the big leagues of southern baptist christendom.
But as I walked out of the church, I do remember thinking, was that it? All that buildup, all the lectures, for what - a swallow of juice and a bite of cracker?
My eight year old mind was not impressed.
So what started as a bit of a letdown turned into years of going through the motions when it came to communion. I would dutifully read the scriptures, pray, and accept the plate as it was passed in church. I would eat the bread and drink of the cup, I would think a moment of Jesus, and more often than not, I’d head out the door forgetting it happened in the first place.
Looking back now, I was told over and over again about the reverence and importance of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. But I don’t recall many explaining the why behind it. Yes, I heard the scripture read, how Jesus had led in it and commanded it for His disciples, but why was it so important today? Why do we take time in our church services to repeatedly take the bread and the cup?
And just like he patiently and lovingly deals with all of my queries, Jesus pointed me to the why in Luke 22:
“And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’” Luke 22:17-21
Do this in remembrance of me. In remembrance.
Remembrance of His body which was broken for me, which was willingly given for me. Remembrance of His blood which was spilled for me, which washed me clean and symbolized a new covenant. Remembrance of my permanent wholeness in Him, of how I exude His righteousness in the midst of a broken, sinful world.
Remembrance of the fact that none of that would be possible if Jesus hadn’t left His Father in heaven, humbled Himself to give me life by choosing to die.
When I take the time to remember my Savior in this way, it causes me to stop and take it all in. More often than not, it humbles me to the point of tears. His choices, His sacrifice, they encompass my heart and mind, and they remind me how simultaneously I’m both grateful and unworthy of it all. And it makes me stop, press pause in the middle of my busy life, and meditate on His why, His motivation.
I think this is the biblical and godly response of the believer when we take the Lord’s Supper. The “why” we do it is for this, for recalling the actions of Jesus, for focusing on them and pondering over our salvation.
I was doing that recently, remembering Jesus and meditating on these scriptures when I came upon this verse which falls right before the first ever Lord’s Supper:
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1
The emotion behind Jesus’ words is so big, so palpable, that the motivation seems to jump off the page. Jesus LOVED his disciples so much. He loved them all the way to the end - to the cross, to His death.
That is the same exact love with which He loves me. Jesus gave His body and His blood, so that I would be saved. That is a beautiful love, and it’s the why. It was His motivation to walk through the darkest of trials. And it’s become the focus of my Remembrance.
It’s also a love that we’ve been commanded to take on ourselves. Later in the same chapter, Jesus says the following:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
It seems like a simple enough command, to love one another. I’ve been hearing that since preschool. But, look at how He described it, “Love one another just as I have loved you.”
That same love which made Him walk into His own sacrifice is the same type of love I am supposed to have for those in my life. I’m to love as He loves.
I think that makes our Remembrance even more important. If I am not taking time to meditate on my Savior, what He’s done for me AND why He’s done it, then I am not fully able to understand the depth of love that I have been given.
And if I don’t understand the depth of that love for me, then I won’t be able to extend that love to others.
I have got to take time to remember. It’s imperative.
I wish I could go back to that eight year old in that old orange pew in that small church. I would take her aside, and I’d take some time to show her how much Jesus loves her. I’d show her in the Word where Jesus said He’d love His disciples to the very end, and how that would now include her.
Then I’d point to that tiny cup of grape juice and bit of cracker, and I’d explain it’s importance to the believer. How taking the Lord’s Supper from here forward should be a catapult into a reliving of the Christ story - His life, His suffering, His death on a cross for her and for me.
I’d teach her to remember.
Amy Bufkin has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. Even though she basically lived at her local church growing up, her faith and relationship with The Lord was incredibly shallow until her early twenties. It was then Amy learned how to study her Bible, began to truly commune with God, and her shallow faith began to deepen as she got to know her Lord and Savior. Now her passion is to communicate the same truths that changed her life to young women in as many ways as possible. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook