“But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” -Ephesians 2:13
For anyone who has participated in serving communion before I’m sure you understand what an awesome responsibility and blessing it is. Not to mention, how overwhelming it is to serve the elements we take in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice made by our savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
I had an opportunity to hold the cup in the serving line at my church last Sunday and each time I said “the blood of Christ shed for you” I felt tears welling up inside me.
What a powerful truth that is. Christ’s blood was spilled 2,000 years before I was born for me? And the same blood was shed for each and every one of these people who are dipping the bread into this cup I hold? The same blood was shed for those who don’t even give God the time of day, much less follow the teachings of Christ.
Sometimes in ministry and in the church we get so carried away with doing the business of God’s work that we forget about the simplicity of the Gospel — that Jesus’ shed His blood for us so that we could be saved from the terrible mess we would otherwise find ourselves in left alone in our sin.
I had a similar encounter with the awesome reality of the Lord’s supper at camp this summer. As part of our Friday evening Bodinestock festivities at Junior High 2 (Since our theme was ’70s-based, we had to have a music festival) I felt it only appropriate to have a time of communion and prayer. I asked my dad (Rev. Robert Ralph) to lead the communion service and I helped.
As people came forward, walking through the sand to our makeshift altar area, I tried my best to remember names. “The blood of Christ shed for you, Andrew; The blood of Christ shed for you Megan.”
It was in that moment that all of the hard work preparing for a week of camp, all of the fretting about the effectiveness of the program, all of the sleepless nights getting ready for the next activity during the week melted away in my mind.
This was what camp was all about, I thought to myself and confessed in my heart.
As kids continued to come forward, I thought about the tears I had seen many of them shed at the altar, about the drama, the sick grandparents, the ridicule at school and the brokenness so many of these middle school kids had waiting for them back at home.
Jesus on that cross felt that brokenness and pain for our sake. He shed His blood for all of it because he loved the Andrew’s, the Megan’s, the Matt’s of this world. Praise God for the blessing that flowed when the blood was shed.
It’s through the blood of Christ, as we read in Ephesians 2:13, that we who were far away and guaranteed certain death can be near to the victory and the glory of God.
Matt Ralph, Louisville, KY