One of the many things that separate me from traditional churches views, ones that regularly (need I say … routinely?) present “Communion” or the Sacrament of the Eucharist, is my interpretation of the serving of bread and wine at the Last Supper.
Don’t get me started (at least here and now) about the Jewish Seder meal, because there is a tradition of bread and wine in that meal that Christians mostly do not understand, but when Jesus said “take, eat, this is my body, eat this in remembrance of me,” he meant more than, “Hey guys, let’s start a new tradition … call it a New Covenant … and eat bread with me in it, so future people can think I am in their bellies.”
Bread symbolizes the Law of Moses, the Torah, the Psalms, the books of the prophets, and (after Jesus) the New Testament scriptures. We must feed on the words written. We must digest them and find nourishment from them. As a show of our commitment to serving the One God, we must act to learn these things, just as children learn things in Sunday School. That is the meaning of eating bread that is unleavened. That is the meaning of eating wafers (or broken saltine crackers) to remember Jesus. Still, that knowledge is not enough. We need the wine.
Wine is sold in liquor stores, which are known as places where “spirits” are sold. Drinking wine makes us lose some degree of control of our intellectual mind, so we loosen up and feel the vibes tingling throughout our bodies. This is why, on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were thought to be drunk, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The wine of the Eucharist symbolizes the elevation of stored knowledge of religious matters (learned from books), to the point of understanding as never before. It is an epiphany squared. It is stepping aside so the Holy Spirit can rush in and overtake us, leading us to understand from a holy, heart-centered, emotional connection with God. Thus, the bread leads one to experience the spirit.
I feel it is important that all Christians think about this concept. Too often I have encountered members of churches that seemed to be elevated by church pageantry and wafer and wine tastings. They are nowhere close to being filled with the Holy Spirit, and a love of God, as they are filled with love of a Church and symbolic actions they do not fully understand. For that reason, I have named this blog “Our Daily Bread.” I have other things I could add along this line of enlightenment.
Copyright by Robert Tippett.