When the prophet Samuel led Israel, he told them, “Direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you” (1 Samuel 7:3*).
Later on, near the end of King David”s life, the people of Israel followed David”s lead and joyfully contributed to building materials for the future temple. Then David prayed, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you” (1 Chronicles 29:18).
In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to seek God”s kingdom. The apostle Paul says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).
We live in the kingdom of light, but we can easily turn our attention back toward the kingdom of darkness””it is all around us. We have to choose frequently to direct our hearts toward God and away from whatever distracts us.
But God knows our hearts, and he helps us. One of the best ways is right here in front of us, right now. We call it our time of Communion.
“Do this,” Jesus said, “in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Paul wrote, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord”s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
Jesus promised to be with us whenever two or more gather in his name. So he is here at this table with us””just think of that! But there”s no spiritual hocus-pocus in this bread and fruit of the vine””our sins aren”t forgiven because we eat and drink it.
No. Our Lord gave us this time of Communion so we will regularly direct our hearts to what God”s Son did for us, and so we will look ahead to our hope in Heaven and be strengthened to cling to the risen King of kings who is coming again.
Around this table, with this bread and juice and with our Savior in our midst, we direct our hearts to remember and proclaim what we know is true: “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus said (Luke 22:20). “This is my body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19).
*Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.
Diane Stortz is the author of A Woman”s Guide toÂ Reading the Bible in a Year (Bethany House) and other books. Her newest book, for the littlest learners, is Say & Pray Devotions (Tommy Nelson).Â