Today for the first time, I found myself happy about communion. Not just happy, downright giddy. While I watched the elements being passed, waiting for my turn, I realized that I was sitting there grinning from ear to ear. It took me a bit by surprise and then I felt a little bit awkward about it. Like, “Did anyone just see my ridiculous enthusiasm?” And next, “Why am I so excited?”
I began thinking about all the sin that I had committed over the past week (okay, the ones I could remember) and thinking with a list like this I would normally be quite weighted down, feeling somber, and incredibly condemned at this point. What was so different about today?
Remembrance leads to joy.
…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (1 Cor 11:24-25)
It wasn’t that I was unaware of my sins this past week. It wasn’t that I wasn’t taking them seriously enough. Or that I wasn’t trying hard enough to feel badly for them. It wasn’t that I wasn’t broken over them. It’s just as I sat there anticipating holding the bread and juice in my hands, anticipating the remembrance of his body broken and his blood poured out, anticipating giving thanks, I was filled with joy.
Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there is no condemnation for me. Communion is not penance. I am not earning God’s favor in any way by partaking in this ceremony. I am not earning God’s love and favor by showing up to communion with no sins to confess. I am not earning God’s love and favor by showing up with my own condemnation for my sin, as if feeling bad enough would bring the forgiveness that I need. There is nothing here to earn. Jesus has already earned it for me. I am partaking in this ceremony to remember that which Jesus bought for me. I can only show up an empty- handed beggar and receive mercy.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18)
So to mark this day, in the top of my bible I quickly scribbled out:
“Because of the gospel there is NO FEAR in communion. Christ’s body was broken and His blood shed that I might eat at His table as a daughter, not as an enemy.”
As I sat ready to take communion, I was filled with joy because I was able to see all that Jesus had done for me. Remembering that His body was broken and his blood was poured out, I can now eat and drink of his great mercy and grace and YES my face can be glad. The gospel is THAT good. 🙂