Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sacrament of Holy Qurbana: Celebration of Salvation
Luke 24: 13-35
v.30. “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them”
Rasad Mohammed was distraught over his medical reports that said both his kidneys were failing, and only a kidney transplant could save him. He had not been able to find any donors and was clueless about his future. As he shared his sad story to a stranger and priest, who was traveling next to him in bus—Fr. Sebastian, gauged the hopelessness in Rasad face and said without hesitation “I will give you my kidney”. Fr. Sebastian had only met Rasad on that bus journey. They were strangers, but after that journey they became friends, one living because of the other’s sacrifice— a friendship they would call ‘the celebration of life’.
The Bible passage brings our attention to two travelers who are on their way from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus, when a stranger, Jesus, whom they did not recognize, joined them along in their journey(v.15). The travelers seemed hurt and pained at Jesus’ death (v.17). Jesus, as if to console them, talks about Moses, the prophets and explained them the Scriptures concerning Himself (v.27). The travelers invite the stranger to their home, gather at the table, and when the stranger breaks bread, blessed, broke it and gave it to them (v.30). Their eyes were opened! It was at this event of the breaking of bread that they realized it was Jesus who tutored them all along, and as a reminder of His death, broke bread and gave it to them! The entire journey suddenly seemed like a ‘worship in motion’, where they met God through the hearing of the Word and Sacrament. In the end, they were consoled and strengthened to continue their mission to share the good news to all (v.34).
The Holy Qurbana likewise, is a celebration and symbol of these journey moments. There is Scripture, proclamation of the Gospel, recollection (anamnesis), and the celebration of Sacrament. Syriac church father and theologian, St. Ephrem, would call Holy Qurbana as the medicine of life. During the Holy Qurbana, we are reminded of who we are, where we were once and how we were saved by this medicine of life. Christ was broken for us, so that we be saved by him. It is, therefore, a joyous celebration of the gift of Salvation and grace that we have freely received.
Loving Lord, thank you for inviting us to the table and for strengthening us spiritually as a community. Help me to never take Communion for granted, but to participate in it with a sense of gratitude and to imitate your life of love and sacrifice. In Jesus name, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Christ was broken for us, so that we be saved by him!
Rev. Prince Varughese Madathileth, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church