Tuesday's Meditation

He gave it to them...

Jesus had just done what no other Jew had dared to do since time immemorial - He had lifted the portion of the Passover feast, the piece of unleavened bread and the cup of wine set aside for the coming Messiah. The act was as symbolic as the placing of a crown on His head or the taking up of a sceptre and orb. Since the time of Melchizedek, the first, earthly, king-priest of Jerusalem, bread and wine had been the traditional gifts of kingly homage and blessing.

To the disciples, it was a sign that the Messiah, the long-awaited one, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was here - at last. And what did He do with the symbol of His Kingship, the bread and the wine? HE GAVE IT TO THEM.

In that one act, Jesus conferred upon His followers all the benefits and rights that were His as God's chosen Messiah. He, the King of Kings, raised them up to His level. And let's be honest about this group - they were nothing special. They were quarrelsome (not long before Jesus had caught them arguing about which of them was greatest), they lacked faith at times, two of them had a pushy mother whom they relied on to try to lobby for favour with Jesus. Some of them had disreputable pasts, few of them had any education - most would be illiterate. Some of them could be insensitive and inconsistent. All of them would desert Jesus in His hour of need, one would actively deny Him thrice and one would sell out Jesus for no more than the traditional price of a dead slave.

Yet it was these followers, weak, inconsistent, inadequate, ordinary folk, that Jesus lifted up to share in His kingship, to be His family. And it is still people like that He reaches out to in our communion celebrations.

You don't have to make yourself perfect to take communion, you don't have to be faultlessly faithful. Jesus wants to reach out to you - as He did to His disciples at that first communion - and lift you up, to commune with Him, to know Him, to receive grace, forgiveness, comfort and strength from Him. All He asks is that you come - just as you are, knowing you don't have all the answers, nor even all the questions, but knowing you need Him. It is so simple, it so gloriously illogical. He in His perfection, bestows on us with all our imperfections all the blessings of His Kingship, love and mercy. We only have to receive.

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