This morning I had one of my more meaningful (and emotional) observances of communion. Allow me to share with you a beautiful story that occurred recently and that was on my mind:
I have a friend that is new in his decision to follow Jesus. Having come from a different faith background, he is still discovering what it means for him to follow Jesus. A while ago, he was in a congregation as they shared in communion together. He was experiencing a lot of turmoil in life at the time and wished for Jesus “to heal his mind” and restore his peace. He realized that the communion symbolized Jesus giving himself for us. So he decided to participate, as a way of inviting Jesus to “heal his mind and heart.”
The pastor began the observance by picking up a loaf of bread, introducing the symbol to the congregations representing the body of Christ that was given for us. He then broke the loaf into two to reflect Jesus’ action at his last meal with his apostles. Setting aside half the loaf, he took the other half and began breaking it into small pieces to share with congregants as they filed past.
To his surprise, my friend walked forward, picked up the half loaf that was lying there and began eating it with intent and fervor. Thinking he may be confused, several people gathered by him to inquire if he understood the symbolism of what he was eating. “Yes, Yes!” he insisted. “I want Jesus to fill my mind, to heal it. I need much of him, not small pieces.”
For me, this display of this man’s hunger for Jesus is one of the most beautiful communion stories. It is a reflection of Peter’s insistence, at his last meal with Jesus, that Jesus wash all of his body, not just his feet. I felt so keenly, today, my need for Jesus, and not just small bits of him, either.