Remembering and a Future Hope

I am reading through the New Testament in a variety of translations–oh the blessing of multiple English translations! In preparation for leading communion with our women at retreat, I read¬† 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 in the VOICE, a modern paraphrase of the Bible.¬† As I meditated on this passage, I was struck by the way our practice of the Lord’s Supper is both a memorial of a past event–Jesus’ sacrificial death–and a testament to our future hope–that he will come again. First we are instructed to remember, but we are also clearly commanded to practice this memorial until his return, as a way of reminding each other exactly what our hope is.

Remember: Jesus was flesh and blood human, and he gave up his life, shedding his blood as the ultimate sacrifice, to redeem us to God. He told his followers that drinking the cup and eating the bread together was a practice they were supposed to embrace as a reminder of his incredible sacrifice.

Be expectant: Jesus assured his followers that he would return. And the covenant of the Lord’s supper was to be kept, “until he comes again.”

I don’t imagine his followers could fathom 2000+ years of keeping this covenant. But they certainly obeyed his mandate, testifying to his death and looking forward to his return, because 2 millennia later, his followers are still carrying on this sacred practice.

It suddenly occurred to me that while the Lord’s Supper is a covenant practice of believers, it is also a sacred testimony to the world, that we are expectant of his return. It is a way of testifying to our hope in Jesus alone. And it is a way of encouraging one another, that what he has promised he will do. We are remembering the past in order to bolster our faith and expect a fulfillment of all he has promised in the future.

I am also in awe of our sacred obligation to pass this hope on to the generations to come. We do not know for certain when the Lord will return. We only know that he will. And in the meantime, we are entrusted with the responsibility to carry on this practice of remembrance and expectation. Every time we share communion together with other believers, we are joining with generations of believers, adding our voice to that great cloud of witnesses, proclaiming our Messiah’s redemptive death until His return to take us home. Oh, what a joy to celebrate with certainty and expectancy.

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