A service for Holy Communion
The Bread of Life Feeds Us
by Rev. Dr. John Calhoun
Scripture: Matt.14:19; Luke 22:19; Luke 24:30
The Gospel’s three occasions of Jesus hosting a meal is described in the same way. He fed the five thousand; served the Passover meal and ate with the disciples he met on the road to Emmaus. And in each occasion he did it the same way.
He took the bread, blessed it, broke and gave it.
This is not a routine description of hosting a meal. Its imagery forecasts a profound insight into the life and mission of Jesus.
Jesus was taken by God. In other words, He was chosen. (Ps. 89:3; Matt. 12: 18; Luke 9:35) There is an eternal purpose in this. The mission of reconciliation to restore a severed tie between Creator and the created is held in Jesus being chosen for this work of redemption.
Jesus was blessed. At His baptism, the voice spoke from Heaven declaring His beloved-ness and in whom the Father was well-pleased. This blessing was foretold to Abraham with a promise that all people of the earth would be blessed. But before this can be a finished work there was the Cross.
Jesus was broken on the Cross. By His stripes we are healed. He who knew no sin was made sin, so that we might be made righteous. He emptied Himself of all but love and died for Adam’s helpless race. This terrible brokenness is the power and wisdom of God. Wisdom to show the depth of the human fallen condition and wisdom to show the magnitude of a Divine Love that redeems. It is Power in that it effectively cancels the power of sin and death. And then it is shared freely to all and therefore,
Jesus was given to the world so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. In Him was life and that life was the light to all of us.
We have been granted all the blessings in Heaven in Christ (Eph.1) therefore:
We are taken (chosen.) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16. We are called to follow Jesus as the redeemed into God’s mission to redeem. We are the forgiven who forgive; the beloved who love.
We are blessed (beloved.) Paul wrote: Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory-Romans 8:17. As Jesus is the chosen beloved, so too are we who are In Christ. As He is the one to whom is extended favor, so too are we for the sake of Jesus. This defines us at our core. But,
We too are broken. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world-I John 2:16. And the result of this is brokenness. Left to our own power to cope with the assaults of life we are helpless and hopeless.
But yet, there is a universal remedy. We take our brokenness to the Cross where Jesus’ brokenness absorbs ours and
He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me. Charles Wesley
For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite-Isaiah 57:15
Therefore, we the chosen put our brokenness under the blessing so we are free to be love others.
We are given to our world. Wherever we are in great or small places we join God’s mission to reconcile the world to Himself. We do not live for ourselves. We are given to others as it is our essential vocation to follow Jesus.
At the Table of the Lord:
Take the bread and see that we are chosen,
Bless it (give thanks) with the cup and see we are the beloved,
Break it to accept brokenness and then put it under the blessing and,
Confess we are given to the world because we follow Jesus
By Rev. Dr. John Calhoun, Director, Center for Pastoral Leadership, Point Loma Nazarene University; District Superintendent, Northern California District (Rt).