When was it in your life that you began to look upon the Lord’s Supper as something significant, something to treasure?
For me, the bread and cup became a treasure early on. When I was a boy of 4 or 5 years of age, I used to love Holy Communion Sundays at Grove City Grace United Methodist Church because that church used shortbread squares for the Lord’s Supper. They tasted like little cookies! Following worship on Communion Sundays, there would be about a five minute gap of time between the benediction and the arrival of the Communion stewards at the front of the sanctuary. During that five minute gap, I would leave my mother’s side, scurry up the altar, grab a handful of shortbread squares and head off to one of the Sunday school rooms for what might be described as an extended sacramental celebration.
The funny thing was that, even as a four or five year old, I knew that there was something important about those shortbread squares. I had seen enough people consuming them with reverence to know that they were something more than ordinary food. And so, as a 4 or 5-year-old, before I would consume the purloined squares, I would always try to pray some of the words that I could remember from the Communion liturgy. My truncated prayers, however, sounded something like this: “Dear Jesus, this is your body broken for us, but please help it to be like cookies because I don’t think that your body would taste very good.”
Somewhere in those childish words was the soul of a little boy who had already come to understand, at least in some elementary way, that the Lord’s Supper was something special, something to savor, something to treasure, something to crave.
About seventeen years later, when I was a junior in college, I attended a worship service on Palm Sunday evening at a British Methodist church in downtown London. It was at that service, as I sat alone in my pew, that I experienced my clearest sense of calling into the ordained ministry. That night, as I watched the pastor consecrate the elements, as I experienced afresh the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup, I could not shake the feeling that the Holy Spirit was creating a transformational intimacy with my soul. In those moments, I sensed that the Spirit was speaking to me and saying something like this: “Do you see that pastor consecrating the elements? That is what I want you to do for my people. I want you to help my people to celebrate the Lord’s Supper—not because you are better than anybody else, not because you are worthy of such a calling, but simply because that is the life into which I am calling you.”
The Lord’s Supper, you see, has figured prominently in my life’s journey. When I was a boy, I couldn’t keep my hands off the Communion elements. And when I was a young adult, those Communion elements became one of the primary means by which I experienced God’s calling to ministry. All of which is to say that I have no problem whatsoever thinking of the Lord’s Supper as a holy treasure. It is a treasure that has blessed my life in a thousand different ways.
I pray that you are able to say the same thing. Furthermore, I pray that you will join me in experiencing the treasure of the Lord’s Supper on this Holy Thursday. God bless you.