By Mandy Smith
Outsiders watching Christians take part in the Lord’s Supper over and over might feel sorry for us. We take a tiny piece of bread and a tiny sip of juice and remember someone who had a real meal with his friends a long time ago. It might seem foolish or sad that we keep doing this. “Jesus is gone,” they might say. “Move on.”
But they don’t know what we know. We know that when Jesus left, he promised he would never leave. It’s a strange truth, but it’s what he said. Although he stopped walking around in a human body on the earth, he promised he’d start walking around in many human bodies—ours.
Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. . . . you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
And so as we take part in this meal, remembering his life on this earth and the friends who lived and ate with him, we remember not only a past life and past times of fellowship, we also celebrate the ongoing life of that same presence of God that was in Jesus.
We remember that his Spirit is alive in us today, his people, his church. We don’t have to beg him to be close—he’s right here. And he’s not just beside us, he’s also living in us, guiding and comforting and teaching and equipping and reminding us of God’s love and presence.
Even as we remember something that he did and said a long time ago, we know he is with us here. Because of his death and resurrection, Jesus is able to be present with us now.
Thank you, God, for coming in the body of Jesus and raising that body from the dead. And thank you for indwelling ordinary people like us in ordinary bodies like ours so that we might become more and more like Jesus every day.
Originally from Australia, Mandy Smith is pastor of University Christian Church, a campus and neighborhood congregation with its own fair-trade café in Cincinnati. She is the author of The Vulnerable Pastor: How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry.