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As He revealed Himself to the holy apostles in the true flesh, so He reveals Himself to us now in sacred bread.  And as they saw only His flesh by an insight of their flesh, yet believed that He was God as they contemplated Him with their spiritual eyes, let us, as we see bread and wine with our bodily eyes, see and firmly believe that they are His mos holy Body and Blood living and true.  And in this way the Lord is always with His faithful, as He Himself says:  “Behold I am with you until the end of the age.”

St. Francis of Assisi, The Admonitions (I: The Body of Christ), 129

Scripture for the day:  For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

Lenten action for the day: During Lent, make a concerted effort to participate in Holy Communion, praying to Christ as you do so.

hram Rozdestva Hristov?g, Pirot

If you know me well, you are sure to know about my great affection, desire, and reverence for the Communion Table.  Though I’ve devoted a good deal of time to studying the theology of the Table, it’s the mystery that appeals to me.  There are so many arguments about the Table…Is it an ordinance or a sacrament?  Who can partake?  Who can’t?  How often should we celebrate?  Are there spiritual benefits to taking the bread and wine?  Is Christ really physically present?  Or is there a more portable version of God (AKA, the Holy Spirit) there?  I think sometimes we let the theological arguments over this ancient ritual to cloud the beauty of the reckless, raging love of Christ that is available there.  On that note, this morning, I stumbled across a wonderful post on the Real Presence written Matt O’Reilly at his blog, Incarnatio, that included this great quote:

“…I’ve come to embrace the mystery of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This attitude is captured well by Charles Wesley in his hymn, “O the Depth of Love Divine”. He writes:

O the depth of love divine,
Th’unfathomable grace!
Who shall say how bread and wine
God into man conveys!
How the bread his flesh imparts,
How the wine transmits his blood,
Fills his faithful people’s hearts
With all the life of God!

How is Christ present in bread and wine? I don’t know. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that Christ is present, really present. He said that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood. That’s all. He didn’t explain it. He didn’t fill in the details. And now, finally, that’s enough for me. If we are going to say something about Christ’s Eucharistic Presence, we should learn from Wesley that sometimes it’s better to sing a hymn than write a treatise.”

For me, the bottom line is this:  There’s a lot of mystery involved in Holy Communion.  I don’t know how Christ is present, but I am thoroughly convinced that He’s there.  Regardless of my own state of mind, emotional situation, sin problems, financial difficulties, work overload, relationship issues, or current Facebook status, there’s a place at the Table for me.  Sermons, music, and liturgy may become stale to me from week to week, but the Body and Blood of Christ is always there for me, and it always satisfies.

Please take some time to visit Incarnatio and read the full post here.  Also, feel welcome to click on “Communion” in my tags for more of my thoughts on Holy Communion.

Peace…

Lee

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Church, has put out a very nice video summary that is promoted as a discussion of the baptism of Prince George, but ultimately, is a wonderful statement on baptism in general.  Please take a few minutes to watch, and enjoy!

”God’s love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost to all people in all circumstances always…For you Jesus Christ came into the world. For you he lived and showed God’s love. For you he suffered the darkness of Calvary and cried at the last, ‘It is accomplished.’ For you he triumphed over death and rose to new life. For you he reigns at God’s right hand. All this he did for you, though you do not know it yet.”

Justin Welby