You’ve heard the messages preached. You’ve heard the testimonies given. You’ve heard the songs sang. Oh, the blood of Jesus, it washes white as snow. We Christians love a good horror story. We like the idea of an angry god sending his son to earth, like a lamb for the slaughter. It makes us feel good. We sing songs (happy songs) about it. We sings songs like, “At the Cross, at the Cross, where I first saw the light…” That song has a very upbeat tune. It’s like we’re singing, “Yay! Jesus is dead! We’re alive!” We rejoice in the sufferings of Jesus and I don’t feel comfortable doing that any more. Paul says to rejoice in your “own” suffering. We look at the Cross with glee in our hearts and we say things like, “Oh, thank God that Jesus did that for me.” And then we forget that Jesus told us to pick up our own Cross and follow Him. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross “for you”. Jesus was just crucified first. The Cross is a horrible way to die. You bleed to death or suffocate, typically.
Jesus is calling you to crucifixion. Jesus is calling you to bleed to death. Jesus is calling for purification. You’re saved. That work is complete. Now, for santification, you have to bleed to death. All of your materialism, greed, nationalism, pride, racism, sexism and queer phobia have to bleed out. But he replaces your blood, with His. You are no longer a creature of this world.
I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church and I love my roots. I love my Baptist roots. I love my religion and I love my Jesus. But there was one thing that always bugged me about communion. The pastor would always say not to take in the Communion if you weren’t “pure”. If you had any unforgiven sins, don’t take in this communion because you’re not worthy. But didn’t Jesus call the sick to his table in the parable? “Oh, the rich and healthy can’t come to my dinner party? Well, go out to the streets. Bring the sick in, bring in the poor, for tonight they will dine with me,” or something like that.
The Holy Communion makes me whole. As a matter of fact, I cannot be whole without it. The “Pure Blood” of Christ coming into my body and mouth is what makes me Holy. The blood of Christ, as I see it today, is that little cup of red wine. Surely, I am not saying The Holy Communion is what saves us, but I am saying it is part of what sanctifies us. When we take in the Communion (the Blood of Christ), we partake in his Crucifixion. With the bread and the wine, I say, “Empty me of myself and fill me with YOU.”
And that YOU we’re asking to be filled with holds no record of rights and wrongs, it does not envy, it does not boast and there is no vile in it. It is not racist. It is not sexist. It is not homophobic. It is holy. When God says, “Be Holy as I am Holy,” he is calling us to see our neighbor without bias. Can you do that? Because when you can you’re ready for the second part of the Communion. You have the top-down Communion, from God to us. But the second part of the Communion is just as important. It’s the lateral Communion. It’s the Communion in which we LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.