We celebrated 4th of July in Seattle this year. It was nice not having to drive and fight traffic, but instead watch in from the porch of my brother in law's house. So there we were all gathered together with kids and cousins watching the fireworks! That's how we celebrated independence day. Ten minutes of fireworks and then afterwards just went back to eating dessert and coffee. No conversation about the history. No rememberance about freedom. Sometimes in our rhythms of church, we can do the same thing. We do certain things without reflecting on the depth and significance and then just go back to our norm. This can be true in particular with the Lord's Table. We rush through it. We reflect on it for a few minutes and then move on to the next component of our gatherings.
Communion has its roots in passover. It's the day that Israel celebrates freedom from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Specifically it's the day when God declared justice over the land of Egypt in light of brokenness and sin. Normally we think of it as a day where Egypt got punished for their oppression of Israel and vengence for killing the boys of Israel. Yet what is interesting is that each household experienced death that night. Whether it was a lamb or a son, there was death. The Israelites did not get a pass because of their race. The Israelites did not get passed over because of their good deeds. Instead there was a substitute, a lamb that meant their house would be passed over.
So when we fast forward to the last supper in Mark 14, it's normal to have bread and wine, but there was no main course, there was no lamb. There was no lamb on the table because the lamb of God was at the table. Jesus was the new substitute. He was the one whose blood would be spilled. This is the covenant between God and man promising that He would bless us and redeem us. This covenant is not dependent on what we do, but what God has done. So regardless of where we are at in life and our struggles with brokenness, life purpose or faith, God comes to us and reminds us He is committed to us. He has made a covenant, sealed by the cross, that Justice has been served and that we can experience freedom and life through Jesus.
May this covenant encourage us in light of our past failures that we have a substitute that covers all things. May we be find courage today to live in freedom and grace. May we have hope for the future and the beauty when all things are renewed and restored.