Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Heavenly Food

If I could only keep one, Christmas or communion, I would choose communion every time. This is not just because Jesus ordained the ordinance of the Lord’s Table, which He did, and which overrides whatever seasonal sentimentality might get in the way. I would choose communion every time because as important as it is that Jesus took on flesh, Jesus said that it was necessary that we eat His flesh.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51)

The King was betrayed, and beforehand He broke bread and said, “This is my body which is for you.”

In our blessed position, we don’t have to choose between two good things. Even in the verse from John I quoted, Jesus said He “came down.” John’s gospel opens with the eternal Logos, the Word, taking on flesh, and John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Christmas and Easter, the King’s birth and death and resurrection, go together like garland and lights. This once-weekly part of our liturgy presumes the annual reminder of the incarnation, our more-than-mental-worship by bread and wine repeating the sounding joy.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood;
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

(“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”)