Remember - Reflections nov 2016
A Reflection for November 2016 by Richard Parrish


"This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  - 1 Corinthians 11:24b (ESV) [1]



Several weeks ago I wrote a blog: Remember Me.


Since then, I’ve been asked to lead two ministry events with pastors, church, and ministry leaders to focus on the importance of the Great Thanksgiving (the Eucharist).


It appears this subject is increasingly relevant. That doesn’t surprise me.


People in my world express their concerns and questions surrounding life. I see busy people rushing from one appointment to the next. I watch as they multi-task between phones, laptops, and I-Pads, while occasionally engaging in human conversations over a cup of coffee at Starbucks.


Often, they are laughing and smiling. But laughter and smiles sometimes fail to reveal the wounds, concerns, and questions we have. Where can I go with my questions? Who will understand my concerns? Who can I trust enough to reveal my wound?


Holy Communion is a sacrament established by Christ. It is a sacred moment that is increasingly important for me. For it is at the table prepared by my LORD, where my wounds can be attended, my concerns undergirded by courage, and my questions can be freely expressed.


However, it wasn’t always that way for me. And, it wasn’t that way for the Corinthians, who Paul admonished to “…do this in remembrance of me [Jesus].”


His words to the Corinthian church were necessary to bring proper perspective and necessary correction to this sacred meal we call Holy Communion (or the Eucharist). He reminds them of what they knew but were denying by their actions. This sacred meal had become routine, commonplace, and had lost its significance.


Reinforcing the words of Jesus, Paul reminds them: “This is my body which is for you.” This meal is not a smorgasbord or church potluck. It is not an opportunity to have a gathering of people to socialize. Paul understands that the bread we eat at this sacred meal is (as David K. Lowerly writes):


“…the incarnate body of Christ unselfishly assumed (Phil. 2:6-7) and unselfishly given on the cross for the benefit of others." - 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil 2.8  [2]


Paul admonishes the Corinthians: “Do this in remembrance of me [Jesus].”  It’s easy for us to forget!  In our busyness, we can easily neglect Jesus’ invitation to join him at his table. In our uncertainty, we can overlook that Jesus cares about our concerns. When life fails to make sense, we may ignore that Jesus loves to hear our questions!


However, a busy life weighed with concerns and questions is not the only reason we fail to attend this holy meal.


Some years ago, a young 30-year old couple was seated in a room adjacent to the sanctuary that we used as a prayer chapel. Inside the small room was a Communion Table with the words: “In Remembrance of Me” carved on its front.  


The man said to his wife: “In remembrance of whom?”  He was serious. He apparently thought someone had provided this beautiful table as a memorial for a loved one who had passed. I’ll never forget that moment.


It reminded me then – and now – that many might not know (or at the least) may have forgotten, WHOM it is that we are to remember! This man’s statement prompted me to underscore how necessary it is – not to assume –everyone knows about Jesus, what His meal represents, and why the Eucharist is essential to our lives.


Our tendency to forget is not limited to busyness or a lack of knowledge. It is also a lack of focus.


As an ordained minister, consecrated to Word and Sacrament, I’ve observed people (young, old, and in-between), whose reception of this holy sacrament has become routine. And in honest disclosure:


I too have officiated on autopilot – more aware of the time, than the treasure I’m handling, tasting, and offering! 


It’s easy to forget. We’re prone to forget. However, it’s dangerous to forget!


It’s dangerous when I’m more focused on rubrics (the guidelines and instructions to consecrate and serve the Eucharist) and miss the reality of this sacred meal.


It’s hazardous when we handle the bread and cup, and forget whose body and blood we hold, eat and drink!  It’s always perilous to allow a sacred moment to become mundane. For when we do, we forget – and miss – the One who offers us sustenance, strength, comfort, encouragement, joy, forgiveness and HOPE found in Christ, alone.


As timely as Paul’s words to the Corinthians were then, they are equally important for us today. As urgent as it was for the Corinthians to meet Christ at the Table, we too urgently need this sacred encounter that exposes us to the mystery, marvel, and adoration of God’s love for us – revealed in the body and blood of Jesus.  


The next time we are invited to “eat this bread, and drink this cup”… REMEMBER whom it is that meets us at this Table, what Jesus accomplished on our behalf, and why He invites us to be with Him.


It is at the LORD’s Table that we discover amazement and joy; strength and HOPE and our faith is bolstered to face life today… even with our wounds, questions, and concerns.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), 1 Co 11:24. [2] David K. Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 531. 



●     When’s the last time you received Holy Communion?

●     Has this sacred meal become routine? Why?

●     Do you have questions about the Eucharist? If so, are you open to discuss this
       with a pastor or priest? 

●     How might you prepare your mind – and heart – before you receive the bread and cup
       the next time you are invited to the LORD’s Table?