Every Meal A Eucharist
And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. (Mar 14:22-24)
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luk 22:19-20)
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Mat 26:26-28)
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (1Co 11:23-26)
It is called by many names -- Eucharist, Communion, The Lord's Supper, The Last Supper -- but all have similar elements of the bread and the "fruit of the vine". This Eucharist is the one common sacrament, or ordinance, or ritual that all those who call themselves Christian share in common. Of course, there is some controversy among Christians how and when and by whom this sacred meal is taken. I don't wish to argue those things and I have no desire to belittle or demean them in any way. Yet, when I read these passages from the Bible I can't help thinking that what is depicted is not a ritual or sacrament or religious observance.
As the scriptures indicate, this event took place, "as they did eat." Jesus had gathered his disciples together for their evening meal, to share bread and wine, and there was probably no thought in the disciples' minds that it was something more that ordinary. It was their common meal, but became the last supper together before the crucifixion of Jesus. No doubt, the solemn words spoken and the events that followed gave it a special meaning.
To me, that speaks volumes. Jesus took a common, everyday thing and lifted it to a spiritual level of meaning that is not obvious in the actions alone. Bread, the staff of life, and wine to wash it down, becomes something more than mere bread and wine. Today, communion is not really a meal at all. It is only a small sip of wine and a small morsel of bread taken in a sacred place. But, in the beginning, the bread was the ordinary bread, and the wine was the ordinary wine of their everyday sustenance. Perhaps, that is really what Jesus intended.
I have no problem with a sacred observance that focuses the mind on spiritual things. Yet, I think that by doing so we lose some of the significance of this Eucharist. If we take the words of Paul in the epistle to the Corinthians, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup," together with the fact that the first instance was an ordinary meal, we see something other than a religious sacrament. Here, it is expressed as the idea that whenever you eat and drink, you can call to mind the sacrifice that Jesus made for our need. Even in a quick take-out meal, we can stop and give thanks and bring to remembrance the words of Jesus. We can call to mind that He is with us always, not just in the cathedrals and auditoriums we might use for common worship. He is with us every moment, every step of life. Every moment then can be a time when we sense His presence and guidance in our lives. We can, and should, make every meal a Eucharist.