Our church has someone present communion each Sunday. Generally the person doing it shares some insight from the Bible, something relevant to communion. This week past I presented communion and I thought I’d share what I said, since I wrote it as well…
I want to start by telling a story. It’s a story I’ve told before, but I think the Lord wants me to tell it again.
A man was walking along one day and he fell in a hole. It was a deep hole, with steep sides. It was hard to climb out and every time he tried, he fell back down. Sometimes he would get some of the way up the side, but inevitably he fell back. And he pulled some of the earth down on his head so that he was afraid he would be buried.
So he was stuck and he was afraid. If he stayed in the hole he’d die of thirst or hunger. He couldn’t climb out and if he tried too much, the hole might collapse on top of him. He didn’t know what to do.
As he was sitting in despair he heard someone approaching. It was a doctor. He called out to the doctor; “Please help me, I’m stuck in this hole.”
The doctor took out his prescription pad and wrote a prescription. He tore it off and threw it into the hole. Then he went on his way.
A little while later he heard another person approaching. It was a priest. He called out again; “I’m trapped in this hole; can you help me?”
The priest wrote out a prayer and threw it into the hole. Then he went on his way.
Some more time passed, and a scientist came along. The man cried out again; “I’m trapped, can you help me?”
The scientist explained the theory of gravity and how, given the existence of holes, falling into them becomes a statistical possibility. Then the scientist went on.
A politician came along and when the man cried out for help, the politician gave a moving speech outlining a ten-point plan that would make it so that no one in the future would ever have to be afraid of falling in a hole again. Then the politician went on his way.
By this point the man was nearing despair. Then, he heard a friend, calling his name. He called back to his friend; “It’s me, I’m down here in the hole. I’m trapped!”
Before he knew it, the friend had jumped down into the hole next to him. He looked at his friend and said “What are you doing? Are you crazy? Now we’re both stuck in the hole.”
The friend said, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”
Jesus is that friend.
Isaiah 42:22 reads:
“But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them aresnared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”
The Lord knows where we are at – each and every one of us. He knows what it’s like. He knows how desperate we can feel and how miserable we can be.
He came to earth not to conquer – though He could have.
He didn’t come to be praised – even though He was worthy.
He came here to suffer, to jump down into the hole as deep and as un-climbable as any hole could be; deep and cold, with a stone and an official seal on top. And then he made a way out.
Isaiah 53:3 tells us: He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
Are you sad? He gets it. Are you rejected? He has been too. Are you desperate, in agony, anguish and loneliness? He let the worst happen to himself so that he could make a way out for you and me.
And I believe that’s why he told us to do what we do every Sunday to remember him. He wants us to remember that what he did for us was difficult, that it was bitter and brutal and vile and utterly, utterly miserable. Not because he wants us to feel guilty. Not because he wants us to be miserable again.
But because he wants us to remember that no matter what the world throws at us, he’s seen it and he’s beaten it. Been there, done that, bought our souls back from sin.
This morning as you eat cracker, remember the Lord’s body that was beaten, bloodied and broken, hung from nails and left to die, so that he could rise from the dead and make a way out of the grave, the deepest hole, the one no one ever gets out of. Not without him.
As the cups come around, think about the blood of Christ. In the biblical world, especially the Old Testament, people would shed blood to make a covenant, a binding contract. They would kill an animal, pour its blood on the ground and cook and eat the animal together. That would make the contract.
Throughout history people would sometimes sign contracts in blood, to make them really binding. Jesus gave up every last drop of his blood to make a covenant with anyone who would accept him; a binding contract that not only will he take you up out of every hole, but he will never abandon you to fall again.
Let’s drink and remember not to be afraid, no matter where we might fall to; Jesus has been there before, and he is the way out.