bq. 19And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. - Luke 22:19,20.
That’s what we’ve been doing all these years: Breaking the unleaven bread and drinking from the cup to remember Christ and what He has done for us. The act itself was meant to be symbolic, but the importance behind it cannot be made more emphatic.
Dearly belovéd in Changi, it breaks my heart to receive news from you that due to the highly contagious nature of the now epidemic SARS virus, paranoia has gripped the us as to the breaking of the bread.
I understand the paranoia. When I mentally placed myself there, I too found my own heart filled with fears of getting infected. Drinking from the same cup and eating of the same piece of unleaven bread is a haven for contamination, logically speaking.
But faith transcends mere logic. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1)”. Contracting the virus comes with it the major ramifications of life and death, and that it is no small matter. I’ll confess that I would have hesitated before drinking from the cup, when put in the same situation.
My hesistation, even though only hypothetical, did not sit well with me. I struggled within myself to find clarity, or a way out of the fear that has paralysed so many of us.
It is a matter of life and death. It always has been. When we first became Christians, that was the whole deal: Life and death. The most commonly used piece of scripture John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever might believe in Him should never perish, but have eternal life.” Though it was most probably a choice many of us made so very long ago, it is a timely reminder that in believing Him we chose life.
There is no choosing of life if the realisation of death did not occur to us. Over the years, we’ve become jaded, and for many of us going to church became a routine activity that has lost a lot of its original meaning. We talk about how some Christians (usually overseas) were persecuted and how they triumphed by the grace of God. This is now our turn.
We could do everything in our power to make the breaking of bread as safe as it possibly can be. Separate the bread and wine into individual portions. Have them in little packets, like those used for tomato ketchup or soy sauce. We may want to sit farther apart from each other because the virus could be airborne. There are so many things we could do. Or, we could simply not come.
But I urge you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to remember your first love. Remember what you have chosen and Whom you have proclaimed the Lord of all things, and more importantly, the Lord of your life. Nothing happens outside of His hand.
I am not saying that we should be act carelessly and irresponsibly. We should do what we need to in order to make it as safe as we possibly can, but we should do so out of love, and not out of fear.
I love you all, and it pains me to see you suffer from a distance. My heart longs to be with you again, to partake of the same portion that unites us in Him, and to remember with you who Christ is and all that He has done.
Grace and peace be with you all till we meet again.