Word for the day Christian Education Forum
Holy Communion: Healing of Body and SoulJohn 6:26-35
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Even though Holy Communion is a very popular term, in our church, we commonly use “Holy Qurbana” to denote the divine sacrament. The word Qurbana finds its root in the Hebrew term Qorban and Arabic term Qurban which means offering or sacrifice. Holy Qurbana reminds us of the occasion of Jesus coming down from heaven and sacrificing himself to save humankind. Holy Qurbana is the remembrance of the great redeeming act of the Son of God. Each time the bread is broken, and wine is served, it should lead us into repentance and rejuvenation.
Taking part in Holy Qurbana is not just a physical activity but it is more of a spiritual experience where our body and soul are involved. We believe that cleansing is happening in our life through the confession and acceptance of the Holy body and blood. It leads to purification and healing in our lives. To experience Holy Qurbana in its fullness, we need to understand the relevance of this sacrament in our lives. This Bible portion provides us some insights about Jesus as the Bread from Heaven.
Holy Qurbana: Satisfying the Spiritual hunger
This discussion happens after the miracle of feeding 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus identified the physical hunger of people and fed them. But here he is differentiating between material things and spiritual things. Jesus wants the people to identify Him as the true bread from heaven rather than looking at him as someone who provides materialistic things. He knew that more people would come in search of him as they were provided an unexpected free lavish meal. But that should not be the reason behind someone coming in search of Jesus. Earthly food provides temporary relief to our hunger and thirst. But Jesus affirms that the spiritual food that he provides will provide eternal satisfaction. The focus of the multitude should be on the spiritual feeding that Jesus provides. Just like Bread is essential for sustaining a person’s life, a relationship with Jesus is essential to sustain the spiritual life. Holy Qurbana is an invitation to feed ourselves spiritually. It reminds us that apart from physical hunger, we need to have a spiritual hunger, which can only be satisfied through Jesus Christ. He is the eternal one who can satisfy the hunger of the human heart and soul.
Holy Qurbana: Affirming the Faith
The Jews were never ready to accept Jesus as the son of God or the Messiah. They were always looking for signs and symbols. A seal marks that a product is genuine. Jesus says that the Son of man is sealed by Father God. They had a common belief that good work and good life can get them the favor of God. That is why they are asking for things that they should do to please God. Jesus replies that God wants his people to believe in Christ, who is being sent by Him. Jesus calls forth for a change in the approach of people towards Him. He wants them to believe the scripture and accept that it is being fulfilled through Christ. Jews are mentioning Manna as the bread from heaven. They were expecting a Messiah who provides bread from heaven. Even though Jesus fed the 5000, they were seeing it as bread from the earth itself. The people haven’t seen the spiritual aspect of the incident or have accepted it as a sign. They are expecting more signs and miracles. Jesus clearly states that Manna is just a symbol of God’s providence and not the bread from heaven. He explains that the true bread is he himself who came down from heaven. It itself is the best sign as His birth is the greatest miracle. By His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus has cleared all the doubts. Through Holy Qurbana, Jesus invites us into a fellowship with Him. To have a close relationship with God, we need to have faith in him. We need to believe that He is the true bread from heaven and accept Him as the Messiah.
Holy Qurbana: Life-giving experience
Manna was given in the wilderness to satisfy the physical hunger of people. It was considered bread from heaven and the most significant act in the life of Moses. So, there was a Rabbinic belief that when Messiah comes, he will give Manna again. But Jesus differentiates between Manna and the bread from heaven. He teaches that Moses was being instrumental in providing them Manna, but it was not from Moses, but a gift from God. Manna was perishable but the bread from heaven is eternal. Manna was provided for physical survival but Jesus, the bread of heaven, is from the father, and He provides life. So, the true life-giving bread is not Manna, but Jesus himself. The sin in our life leads us to death. Romans 6: 23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Jesus came to save the world and to provide them with eternal life. Holy Qurbana reminds us about our sins, the importance of confession, and the need of attaining a new life in Christ. It is an invitation to become one with Christ. Jesus gave his life on calvary, shed his blood, to give a new life to all of us. A new life in Christ means a new identity for us. The life Jesus provides is not just a life in this world but a life in eternity. We are provided with forgiveness of our sins. It calls forth for a positive change in our approach towards others. We need to forgive others, reconcile with them, and rebuild our relationships.
Holy Qurbana is a dominical sacrament that we take part in regularly as it is a remembrance of the love that Jesus displayed on the Cross of Calvary. Jesus broke the bread and shared the wine and gave us the command to do it in remembrance of him until he comes. When we take part, this sacrament not only gives spiritual healing but also physical healing as we have a lot of examples among ourselves who experienced the divine touch of healing through Holy Qurbana. The preparation, involvement, repentance, and dedication, make our Holy Qurbana a special experience for our body & soul.
O Lord, Help us to faithfully experience Holy Qurbana in its fulness and renew our lives
Rev. Roshen V Mathews
Trinity MTC, Houston