Whenever You Eat This Bread
1 Corinthians 11:23-34
"He broke [the bread] and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.'" - 1 Corinthians 11:24
In the Lord's Supper (communion) bread symbolizes nourishment and sustenance in faith, but it also symbolizes the death of Jesus that saves us from destruction. It's like water and wine. These symbols are like a double-edged sword: water can sustain life, but it can also create deadly floods. Wine can gladden the heart, but it can also destroy people's lives.
Some stories about bread in the Old Testament include this element as well: manna that was greedily kept until the next day became rotten and unsafe to eat (Exodus 16:20); a soldier's dream showed a loaf of bread destroying the Midianite camp (Judges 7:13); and the odd bread that Ezekiel had to eat warned the people of an impending siege (Ezekiel 4:16). And here, in 1 Corinthians, the Lord's Supper reminds us and warns of judgment and how Jesus came to save us from certain destruction.
There is an element of being completely open with God and each other when we come to the Lord's table, especially because we gather to eat together. None of us really wants our life to be scrutinized, but at God's table, there is always mercy. Mercy is greater than judgment; provision is greater than scarcity; life is greater than death; "perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18). And God's presence with us through the bread of Christ is greater than anything we could ever ask or imagine.
Thank you, Jesus, for your death, which gives us eternal life. Amen.