(Below is a Communion Meditation I shared at my local church. This was one way to remember and rejoice in Christ through Communion, not a detailed explanation of it.)
With August upon us, it’s back-to-school time. With things launching at school and in the church, things are extra busy. The to-do list piles up even while other things get neglected, which leaves us feeling guilty or distracted. The demands of life don’t go away when things get busier. There’s still our house to clean or repair work needing done, cars to fix, bills to pay, emails to respond to, books to read, families to spend time with, relationships to invest in, friends to stay in touch with, parents and siblings to not neglect, and neighbors to reach out to.
Then there’s the daily and weekly news that discourages, confuses, or divides us. And the ads and promotions seeking to convince us why our lives are incomplete and could be made better. None of these thing by themselves are overwhelming, but together they run us dry and thin us out.
Often our spiritual life, the thing meant to refresh us, ends up being a burden as well. I need to read my Bible more, pray more, and invest in others. When we don’t do these as much as we’d like, they become a source of guilt rather than joy. And because life is so busy and our mind is on the next thing, even our time in the Word and prayer is distracted rather than resting on Christ. Every week we have sins to fight, which wears us out, and areas where we fail, which piles on the guilt and sense of failure. Not to mention we have trials we’re enduring, pain in our life or those we love, burdens we carry, and areas of our life we’re searching for wisdom.
I’m sure you get weary during the week. You’re probably weary right now.
In one sense, this is normal. Jesus said we will be weary (Matthew 11:28), and in this world, we will have troubles (John 16:33). Peter said we will have burdens and anxieties we carry (1 Peter 5:7).
But Peter also tells us to cast those burdens and anxieties on God, because He cares for us and will carry them for us (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus assures us that though in this world we have troubles, our peace is found in him (John 16:33). Jesus invites us to come find rest by resting in him. Listen to his words in Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
When we come to the table of the Lord’s Supper, we are coming to find rest at a slowdown, sit-down meal where we are served rather than serving. Though we approach food and meals with a fast-food mentality of getting and eating our food quickly so we can move on to the next thing, the Lord’s Supper forces us to take a seat with others, pause, and take notice of what’s set before us. When we set our minds on Jesus and his broken body and spilled blood for our sin, our souls are restored by what we have in Christ.
Though our sins are many—and though we might walk in here beat up and feeling like a failure—Jesus purchased through his death complete forgiveness and a full cleansing. Not only is every sin paid for but the ground of our standing before God, and knowing we are loved by God, is based on Jesus alone, not how good or how bad we were this week. Despite our sin, in Jesus there is rest because we are forgiven and freed.
There is also rest in Jesus through whatever valley, trial, worry, or fear we face today. The bread and the cup are a reminder that if God gave us Jesus, the most costly gift of all, He will give us everything else we need. If God saved us and made us His children through Jesus, if he defeated evil and our sin problem, then we can trust He also has good plans for us and will carry us through what we’re facing today. If He gave us Jesus in our sin, how much more will he take care of us as His children? Despite our burdens and trials, there is rest in Jesus because we are loved and cared for.
Communion is not a message about what we need to do but what has been done for us. It’s not a message about our ability to solve our problems but God’s ability and kindness to solve them. The gospel then frees us from carrying the weight of the world and the weight of our spiritual walk on our shoulders because God is taking care of us, providing for us, and at work for us. Rest in Him today.
Be still before the Lord by resting in Christ. Any burden, sin, trial, or weight you carry today, cast it on the Lord in prayer. Feel the bread between your fingers as a physical reminder that helps you say to God, “As real as this bread is in my hand, so was your provision in Christ, and so I know I can trust you today with this thing. Take it. Carry it. Help me rest by resting in you.”