A Meditation Of The Lord's Supper Poem by Seamus O' Brian

A Meditation Of The Lord's Supper

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'For as long as you eat this bread, and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.'

You proclaim the Lord's death.

You do not salvage the relevance of His death from the redundancy of the centuries; you proclaim it.

You do not rescue His death from the threat of trivialization; you proclaim it.

You do not release His death from the repetition of rote religiosity; you proclaim it.

He never asked for pyramids to be built, for magnificent cathedrals to be erected, for a crystal sarcophagus inlaid with gold, for splinters of his cross to be carried around in gold inlaid chests.

He asked to be remembered with bread and wine.

Why? Why, when the rulers of this world demand grand memorials, why did the Ruler of rulers and the King of kings ask for bread and wine?

Why after eating crackers and juice for 2,000 years does He not need me to rescue the relevance of His death?

It is because across the vast constellation of the innumerable deaths that mark the panoply of the entire history of humanity, the death of Jesus Christ stands alone, separate, absolutely unique and singular.

A few weeks ago my daughter stood in this very spot and proclaimed this very thing. Perhaps it was the quietness of her manner; perhaps it was the very novelty of her speech, but she was heartsick to hear that the words she spoke evoked in some who listened consternation that obscured the very point she was trying to make.

But we can't miss that point. That point is absolutely essential.

That point lies at the very heart of why we have been doing this for 2,000 years.

You see, there have been in the course of history many notable deaths.
Many noble, and ignoble deaths. Countless famous, infamous, and un-noticed deaths.

Deaths that had great impact. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The death of Joseph Stalin. The death of John F. Kennedy, Adolf Hitler. The deaths of Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa.

The deaths of thousands of young men who stormed the beaches of Normandy.

The deaths of a few young men who stormed the cabin of Flight 93, preventing it from falling upon the White House.

The deaths of terrorists who flew their planes into the towers and the Pentagon.

Deaths that shaped the future of nations, and changed the course of history itself.

Ahh….but with this bread and with this wine we proclaim a death unique from all other deaths. We celebrate the death of One who not only changed the course of history, but whose death altered all of eternity.

The One who lay down his own life willingly, and in so doing destroyed death itself.

The One who trampled the gates of hell and set the captives free.

The One who tore the veil that separated God from man, so that every man might enter into the Holy of Holies and behold the face of God.

The One whose death caused the gates of Heaven itself to cry out, 'Who is this King of Glory? Who is this King of Glory? '

'The Lord, strong and mighty. The Lord of Hosts, the Lord strong and mighty.'

The Lord God Almighty, whose death upon that tree opened the gates of heaven that man might enter in and live in the presence of his Creator forevermore.

And he doesn't need my inspiring speeches to perpetuate the relevance of His death.

He doesn't need me to say just the right words to salvage His death from obscurity.

In fact, He doesn't need me at all.

I should be able to set this cracker and this juice on my table at home, all alone, and be moved to examine my heart in relation to His desires for my life.

To cry out, 'Search my heart, Oh, God, and see if there be in me any wicked way! '

When I consider that these simple elements represent God wrapping Himself in human flesh, walking among us, and giving Himself for us—that God died for me—then I should be moved to worship and thanksgiving.

If, in such contemplation, I find that I am not so moved, then it is not because the person in this position has not been inspiring enough, and it is not because the worship team failed to adequately perform their duties.

No, it is likely because my heart has become hard, and my eyes have become dull.

Father, soften my heart so that when I hear the words of your son, 'This bread is my body, broken for you, take and eat, ' I will take and eat with a thankful heart, joyfully proclaiming the death of One who died in my place, and will return one day to establish peace and righteousness forever.

To take the cup, and hear his voice, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, that which wipes out every accusation against you; that which cleanses you from all unrighteousness; that which writes the name of God upon your heart for all eternity, ' as I raise my little cup and my little piece of bread to the heavens and proclaim the death that makes all death irrelevant.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Valsa George 23 December 2016

No, it is likely because my heart has become hard, and my eyes have become dull. Father, soften my heart so that when I hear the words of your son, 'This bread is my body, broken for you, take and eat, ' I will take and eat with a thankful heart, joyfully proclaiming the death of One who died in my place, and will return one day to establish peace and righteousness forever.........................! ! What a beautiful thought! ! Your ruminations on the last supper when Christ offered his body and soul to his followers make me think and think deeper. Many of your questions are so valid. The one born in a manger didn't ask for massive cathedrals. If we are followers of Jesus, instead of focusing on such external grandeur, learn to understand the depth of the great gesture of self giving love! Beautiful thoughts!

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Seamus O Brian 23 December 2016

Thank you, Valsa, for adding your contemplation and enriching this meditation. Indeed, Jesus and Paul both remind us that our bodies are now the temple of God, so in light of what attention and devotion we have given to the great cathedrals, how ought we then use our own bodies to honor and glorify Him? Again, thank you for taking your time to read and your thoughtful comments; be blessed! :) S

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Laurie Van Der Hart 07 November 2016

Neal, this is a very deep and interesting meditation. Yes, this world system does make one's spiritual heart hard and spiritual eyes dull, and we constantly have to soften them, with God's help. Jesus' death is so significant and yet so little understood or appreciated today. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built, all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that have ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life (of Jesus Chrsit) wrote Dr James Allen Francis (I think) in 1926. Let me be provocative and say that I do think that the worship team HAS failed to adequately perform their duties in many ways. One being by teaching the doctrine of the immortal soul, borrowed from pagan worship, and hence nullifying the need for a ransom sacrifice. (If our soul is immortal - what need for a ransom?) As Paul stated at Romans 6: 23, for example: For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord. Without the gift, we would only have death waiting for us, and nothing more. So, you're right - proclaim it we must. But even if we didn't, the stones would cry out...

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Laurie Van Der Hart 24 December 2016

I'm glad you stumbled upon it at a time when it had some meaning for you, Seamus. Exciting to think that, just as the Law of Moses was a shadow of the good things to come, so even the bread and the wine, which are symbols of life and forgiveness, will be replaced by life itself, when he comes. I posted a new poem yesterday called Please don't call me Baby which I hope you will enjoy. Laurie

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Seamus O Brian 23 December 2016

Laurie, came back to this to reply to above, and realized I had somehow missed this comment. Anyway, quite providential, as your words are very meaningful to me on this particular day, full of insight and encouragement as always, but particularly empowering as well. Thank you, dear Laurie, and blessings to you and yours this Christmas! :) S

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