When my family gathers at the dinner table, it is common for the designated prayer person to pray, “Lord, thank you for the hands that prepared this meal.”
Those would be my hands they are talking about. Sometimes fixing dinner has taken hours, chopping, mixing, stirring, grating. Occasionally my hands smell like the onion I chopped, or they are scratched from picking raspberries. But quite often my hands have merely pushed the buttons on the microwave or flipped the switch on the Crock-Pot in order to produce a satisfying meal.
I like to cook and bake. But even if I didn’t, I would fix dinner anyway, because I love my family, and I love sitting down together and sharing a few moments of our day together.
When we gather to celebrate Communion, it is a family mealtime. And we can pray that same prayer, “Lord, thank you for the hands that prepared this meal.” And while we would be referring to the people who carefully prepare the trays and fill the cups every week, the more important hands involved in this meal are the hands of Jesus. His hands were pierced with nails as he died to pay the price for our sins.
Jesus asked us to remember his body by eating this bread and to think of his blood as we drink this juice. Jesus allowed his hands to be pierced, his life to be given, because he loves us and he desires more than anything for us to eat with him, and not just this weekly remembrance; he wants us to live with him forever and sit at the Father’s table as his beloved children.
Lord, we thank you for the hands of Jesus, who lovingly prepared this meal for us by giving up his life. And Lord, we eat and drink in faith that some day we will feast at your table with never-ending celebration.
Nancy Karpenske serves with the staff of LifeBridge Christian Church, Longmont, Colorado.