Saturday, August 23, 2014

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sacrament of Holy Qurbana

Mark 14:12-26


Rev. Larry Varghese

Horeb MTC, Los Angeles
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 

24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.



Jesus gathers his closest friends together and shares a meal with them. Under normal circumstances this would be just another meal. There was bread and wine, and almost certainly other food as well being served. But during this meal Jesus did something that was very unique. Some time after the meal had begun, Jesus took a loaf of bread that was likely set aside from the beginning of the meal and he also took a cup of wine and he said something very interesting about them. He said that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood of the new covenant. It obviously was not meant literally; so then in what way are his words to be understood?
 
It’s a call to be with him. There are hints of this in our liturgy. [Perhaps there was a time when they weren't considered hints but obvious truths.] When we partake in the bread and wine we believe that Christ’s presence is real, not because he is somehow to be found in the bread and wine, but because we are found to be in his presence on high. Christ, to be clear, is seated at the right hand of the Father and when we worship we are uplifted into his presence through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
     
May our hearts be with Christ on high. Surely our hearts are with the Lord.
 
What follows these words in our liturgy is a veritable roll call of participants in heavenly worship. We are living out Heb 12:22-24. Through Christ’s life, the chasm of sin that separated us from God has been bridged. We are once again, as in the Garden, back in his presence. We experience his real presence. Though our feet may be firmly planted on the ground, through the bread and the wine he gives us we are truly with him on high. Qurbana is the celebration of this.
 
This call to be with him is also a missional call to be like him. Heaven and earth collide in the person of Christ. We are to be similar collisions. The partaking of the bread and the wine means we are to be the places where heaven and earth overlap just as in the person of Christ. This happens when we, like Christ, submit to the will of the Father. The new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah spoke of the alignment of the hearts of God’s people with the will of God. The wine is Christ’s blood of the new covenant. When we drink the wine we are to realign our will to his and thus become like him. Being Christ-like is more than just on a personal level though. As Christ came to bring reconciliation to all creation we too are sent out with this holistic mission. The end result is a dismissal to “Go in peace” bringing peace to a broken world.


PrayerFather, draw us nearer to you through the sacrifice of your Son. Remind us of your presence each Sunday through the sacrament of Qurbana and challenge us to be more like you in all areas of our lives. Amen.


Thought for the day: The invitation to be with Christ compels us to be sacrificially like him.