By Mark Krause
I recently read of a young mother who named her son Defy. Yes, I spelled that correctly: Defy, as in “to oppose with an attitude.” She said she wanted her child to grow up knowing he never had to accept the status quo and should always question everything.
While I understand the cultural frustration that causes this sort of thing, it seems dangerous to me. If everyone in a society becomes a relentless questioner, pretty soon there is no one left to give answers, and collapse is inevitable.
This can happen in the church. Is our first move to defy and oppose? Or is it to love and seek unity?
Communion is the most ancient practice of the church, predating even Christian baptism. It finds its origin in the final meal Jesus had with his beloved disciples. At this Last Supper, Jesus prophetically introduced important symbols to be used by his disciples to remember him. They were to eat bread and remember Jesus’ human body that would be nailed to a cross. They were to drink a red beverage and remember Jesus’ blood that leaked from his many wounds as he died. They were to remember Jesus as more than a friend and teacher. He loved them. As his disciple John later wrote, “He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). He loved them and died for them. How could they ever forget?
Remembering Jesus this way is very humbling. Jesus asked his disciples to remember these symbols of his sacrifice as often as they gathered. Sometimes we worry about the “as often” part so much we have forgotten the “gathered” part. The Lord’s Supper should be celebrated in community, as a communion. It is not a time for defiance, but for submission. It is not a time for questioning, but for thanksgiving. It is not a time for domination, but for forgiveness. It is not a time for pride, but for humility. It is not a time to focus on one’s self, but to look to Jesus. Our fellowship is with others who are doing the same thing, those who have laid bare their hearts to Jesus and marvel at his stupendous love.
So, little Defy, I hope you grow up to know Jesus, to love him, and, one day, to sit around his table with a bunch of humble men and women who have surrendered their lives to him. That is communion.
Mark Krause serves as academic dean and professor of Bible with Nebraska Christian College in Papillion, Nebraska, and Crossroads College, Rochester, Minnesota.