Skip to content
Jul 11 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

July 11, 2021

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:22-25

Intro: While talking with an old friend recently,

I discovered something about myself – it was a senior citizen moment
– as I age, I experience nostalgia more intensely
• it is not that I would want to return to my past
• but I experience memories of it with a deeper resonance
– I graduated high school in 1969
• a couple weeks later, we put humans on the moon
◦ that doesn’t trigger moody memories or warm feelings
• a band appeared and disappeared that same year
◦ they left behind one album that reached the top of the charts in the US and UK
◦ a song from that album evokes nostalgia in me
“Come down off your throne and leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason I’ve been waiting all these years
Somebody holds the key
Well, I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time
And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home”
(from “Blind Faith,” written by Eric Clapton and sung by Steve Winward)

One interpretation of those lyrics is that Clapton was working through addiction at the time
– he began writing songs in which he spirituality and recovery
• “Come down off your throne” — stop getting high; stop messing up your body
◦ “Somebody must change” — and you, the addict, must make that change
◦ “Somebody holds the key” — someone else, a “higher power”
◦ “I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time” — I can only do this for so long before I overdose
• a side note: on the same album included there is another song Clapton wrote:
“I have finally found the way to live – in the presence of the Lord”
– when I first heard the line “leave your body alone,”
• it struck me as being relevant to a body-obsessed culture
◦ the emphasis on one’s media image, the fashion industry, medical interventions that kept bodies alive
• other than drug use, hippies celebrated the body’s natural state
◦ they cared for it with health food, Chinese medicine, and naturopathic healing
This is what came to mind while preparing today’s talk
“Leave your body alone”

I began our current series of talks on Easter Sunday
– we began exploring the Scriptures,
• to see how our body parts experience our relationship with God
• we began with the head, then the face–eyes, ears, mouth, lips, tongue
◦ all the way down to our feet
◦ and inside to our blood, bones, and internal organs
• last week we explored the life of our body
◦ the soul – which is physical, the life-force of the body and its parts
◦ the spirit – the invisible part; the added dimension
this is where we connect with God
. . . you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Ro. 8:15-16)
– today’s talk won’t be as intense as the previous ones
• it will be more lab than lecture
• we will leave our bodies alone so they can experience Jesus for themselves

Jesus held in his hands the broken loaf, presented it to disciples

This is my body – I want us to hear this in a specific way
– we have collected all kinds of biblical information about our bodies
• but now we hear Jesus say, This is MY body
• we focus our attention on the bread in his hands,
◦ and on his hands holding the bread
◦ and on the eyes that search us and the lips that speak to us

The first thought that comes to me is “touch”

If Jesus is embodied and we are embodied, there can be touch
– Jesus touched people
• one of the first was Peter’s mother in law (Mt. 8:15)
◦ in fact, Jesus took her by the hand and helped her up (Mk. 1:31)
• soon after, a leper (Mk. 1:41)
• Jesus also touched Jairus’ dead daughter (Mk. 5:41)
• he touched the eyes of two blind men (Mt. 9:29)
• on the mountain where he was transfigured, Jesus woke his disciples with a touch (Mt. 17:7)
• he touched small children whose parents wanted his blessing (Mt. 10:13)
• another child he took in his arms (Mk. 9:36)
– Jesus used his body in extraordinary ways
• his feet took him over all kinds of terrain,
◦ even across the surface of a lake
• his hands were filled with healing and blessings
◦ in fact, the last thing he did for others was with his hands
And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven (Lk. 24:50-51)
◦ those hands were nailed to the cross

I have often wondered what Jesus’ touch would feel like

Jesus himself, was touchable

[Jesus] told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him (Mk. 3:9-10)
– there was the woman whose hemorrhage doctors could not resolve, but touching the edge of Jesus’ cloak did (Mk. 5:27)
• and the woman who kissed Jesus’ feet (Lk. 7:38-39)
• after his resurrection he appeared to the women who had come to the empty tomb
And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him (Mt. 28:9)
– one of my favorites, also after resurrection when Jesus appeared to the disciples:
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see (Lk. 24:39)
• he invited his disciples to touch him
• and he invites us to touch him
◦ think of that when you hold the bread in your hands
This is MY body

The next thought that comes to me, is the role he gives us

Mark tells us that after blessing the bread and breaking it,
– he presented it to the disciples with one word: Take
• he did not hold it just out of reach
◦ he did not say, “Now you’re going to have to work for this!”
◦ their part was easy – all they had to do was receive it
• the Lord who gave us our bodies, now gives us his body
◦ we did not earn this gift,
◦ so we don’t have to worry that we may lose it
– still, we do need to take it – to receive it
• I think we have to learn receptivity as a spiritual exercise
◦ free will means we can choose
◦ we can receive or reject
• we have wisdom when we can discerning when to receive and when to resist
◦ James says this in his typically blunt way:
Submit yourselves therefore to God (receive). Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas. 4:7)
– receptivity offers us a different way of going through life
• getting up in the morning, we can receive the day
◦ or we can reject it, fight with it
◦ but fighting only intensifies frustration, anxiety, disappointment
• we can receive each chore as it comes, or resist and complain
◦ if we remember, we can receive Jesus in each moment

And Jesus tells us to remember
This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me (Lk. 22:19)
– scripture tells us–you and I– that we are the body of Christ
• each one, a member of Jesus’ body
◦ this past year we have been dis-membered
◦ we’re here today so we can be re-membered
put back together
• the bread and wine put us together with Jesus
◦ and today it puts us together with each other
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread (1 Cor. 10 16-17)
◦ Jesus’ body, entering our bodies, making us one body in Christ
– but why would he ask us to consume his body and blood?
• why would we want to?
• because we want his touch on our innermost self
◦ we’ve seen, internal body parts hold our deepest feelings
◦ emotions, motivations, needs, commitments, decisions
• we want his touch to reach down into the depth of our souls
◦ Jesus Christ within us, and taking us into himself
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you (Jn. 14:20)

Conclusion: I want to make a suggestion for receiving bread and cup

We all know how to say something in sign-language
– you may not have realized this before
• the sign-language that we know is a way to pray with our bodies
• even if you’ve never made the sign yourself, you at least have seen it
Tertullian, “In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting off our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross.”
– that is what I am suggesting that you do
Richard Rohr tells us that “we have this wonderful body language . . . practiced by the older churches that we call ‘the sign of the cross.’ . . . If you’ve never enacted the sign of the cross before, I hope you’ll consider its value. And if you’re familiar (perhaps overfamiliar) with the practice, I hope you can do it now in a conscious and trustful way.”
“First of all, the very ritual says that we can know something in our body—that our body has to be reminded in whose ‘name’ it lives and moves and has its being.”
Signing the cross “is often seen as both a shielding and an honoring of the body itself. We begin with the forehead, honoring our thoughts and minds as the source or the beginning point of all our decisions to act: ‘In the name of the Father’ is certainly offering our thoughts and our mind over to God as the Ultimate source.
Then we move directly downward, crossing over our heart, toward the solar plexus, or stomach, which is certainly blessing our own enfleshment and incarnation as the body of Christ: ‘And of the Son,’ we say.
And then, now trusting and enjoying the flow, we cross our body from shoulder to shoulder, again crossing the heart, and say, ‘And of the Holy Spirit.’ Note the sweep, the movement, and the fullness of both vertical and horizontal.”
“This is a way for the body itself to know holy things, to honor itself as the temple and container of the Mystery, and to live with an newly conscious and self-declared dignity.”
“If you’re used to doing it in a mindless and perfunctory way, try letting the rote go and breathe through it each step of the way . . .”

My suggestion is that you take the bread and the cup with this sign of cross
– the Communion ritual is all about the cross
• all about the broken body and the shed blood
– this is only a suggestion
• if it seems right to you, then sign slowly and mindfully
• practice receptivity
Receive the fullness of the gift of Jesus

Leave a comment