“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this phrase lately. Whenever we gather at the Table in worship, the bread is broken, the cup is poured out, and we hear the words of our Savior saying, “Do this in remembrance of me.” We hear these words, we see the signs, and we are reminded of Christ’s sacrifice for our Salvation. His body was broken, his blood poured out, in order to bear the wrath of God against our sins which He bore on the cross, that we should be reconciled to God and born again unto new and eternal life.
At the Table we are reminded that Christ is the only source of life, and that there is no life without Him. In John 6 we read, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my mood abides in me, and I in Him.” Of course, this isn’t a call to cannibalism. Rather, Jesus is telling us that we make take Him in by trusting and believing in Him and in His atoning death. Neither is Jesus teaching that merely pulling up to the table and eating the bread and drinking the cup will give you life. Instead, it is through abiding in Christ, and trusting and resting in Him alone that we find life, forgiveness, strength, and peace.
So we gather at the Table. Christ commands us to “Do this in remembrance,” and so we break bread together and remember Christ’s sacrifice for our Salvation. We see the grace of God evidenced in our communion with Him and with one another. We “do this in remembrance” of Him.
But is that all that is meant by that phrase? Is that instruction tied only to the Table? Is it possible that “do this” could also mean “be broken, yourselves”?
I don’t mean to suggest in any way that Christ is calling us to try to repeat His atoning work. If that were possible, why would he have had to die in the first place. His death accomplished our salvation, His resurrection secured our justification. Nothing more could be added to this perfect and complete work.
But are we not also called to a certain brokenness? The apostle Paul describes his own life as being “poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith” (Phil 2:17), and even “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24). Now Paul couldn’t be saying that Christ’s suffering was deficient in any way for our salvation, for he had just written of Christ saying, “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:19-20). What was “lacking” in Christ’s afflictions was the ongoing manifestation, the sharing in the sufferings of Christ, “carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor 4:10). We share in Christ’s sufferings, we lay down our lives daily and take up the cross, we “do this in remembrance” so that His goodness, His love, His grace may be made known in us.
How then are we broken for others? It is certainly seen in the persecution of the faithful; but it is not limited to such extremes. Could not our brokenness in remembrance also be seen as we give sacrificially to support missions and the ongoing ministry of the church? I’m not talking about giving up that extra latte each week – the luxury items you could live without – but genuinely giving sacrificially for the benefit of others. This is the type of giving that Paul honors when writing about the Macedonian churches who gave “beyond their means, of their own accord, begging … earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Cor 8:3-4).
But let’s get beyond money. Are not our lives to be broken, poured out, for the sake of others around us? Are you investing in, pouring yourself out to, another person? Are you sharing your faith with those who do not know God, and encouraging the faith of other believers? The old hymn goes
Did Christ over sinners weep,
and shall our cheeks be dry?
If Christ was broken for the salvation of his people, and we are called to follow Him, shall we not be broken also in remembrance of Him?
The next time you gather at the Table, eat and drink in remembrance of Him. But don’t leave it there. When you walk from that table into the world around you, be broken with Him, that all may see and wonder at the amazing grace of His redeeming love.