Guest / Limited Access /

As I enter the sanctuary, I see the cloth-draped table near the podium. Communion Sunday! My heart lifts—and sinks. What will they serve? If they passlittle cubes of bread, I resolve to take three or four. This time I am determined to be nourished.

The problem could be me. Maybe I simply lack imagination. In the churches where mini-saltines are served, my clumsy fingers struggle to find and keep purchase of a single morsel. As I crush it in a single chew while the pastor reads, "This is my body, broken for you," I cannot help wondering if Christ has broken a fingernail on my behalf. At the common cup where I take a single anxious swallow, or in the jigger of juice I down in two gulps, I strain to see the blood that flowed from his face and side, the blood that covers the flood of my sins. I know this should be enough, because I deserve none of it—not a fingernail of bread, not a tongue-tip of the blood that Christ spent for me! But the body talks; its messages are real, and I cannot help listening: We have overspiritualized the Lord's Supper. We've turned an actual meal into a pantomime of a meal, and the church is hungry because of it.

I have some guesses as to how this has happened. Forgive the familiarity of this critique, but we're still trying so hard to be spiritual. The Book of Hebrews tells us that earthly things shadow and symbolize the more real yet invisible heavenly things. If Christ's presence is made real through the elements, then a sliver, a swallow is surely enough! And if the ceremony is mostly memorial, a remembrance of Christ's sacrifice, then tidbits and jiggers suffice!

But we cannot escape another truth: On the night he was betrayed, Christ offered a very real meal. Throughout the Scriptures, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedThe Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal
The Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal
Alan Jacobs explains why the nearly 500-year-old Anglican prayer book retains its influence, and why it should appeal even to (non-Anglican) evangelicals.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickHow God Became Jesus—and How I Came to Faith in Him
How God Became Jesus—and How I Came to Faith in Him
Bart Ehrman’s narrative suggests the more educated you are, the less likely you are to believe. My life proves otherwise.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.