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Jesus Establishes the Sacred Ceremony of Communion

ZwPI8cfkJesus Establishes the Sacred Ceremony of Communion
From the training novel Come Quickly Dawn by George Patterson, about 6 minutes

Participants (No need to memorize lines; the aim is to relive sacred events,
not to perform
)
   Alex
   Lucy
   Tino (a child)
   Prompter        Shouts a brief phrase, and Echoes repeat it.
   Echoes           Adults and children, all who want to take part, repeat prompter’s words.

Tino

Papa, why do you and mama drink blood in our meetings?

Lucy

Tino means Communion, Alex.

Prompter & Echoes

The Lord’s Supper.

Alex

I will try to explain it, Tino.
At Jesus’ Last Supper, he broke bread
and handed it to his disciples; he said, “Take, eat.”

Prompter & echoes

“This is my body.”

Tino

My friend Abdul says we are cannonballs,
because we drink human people’s blood.

Lucy

Tino means cannibals, Alex.
Help us both understand this.

Alex

Before Jesus’ time, Jews would tie a Lamb on the altar,
lay their hands on its head, and confess their sins.
A priest cut its throat and blood spurted all over the altar,
like in a slaughterhouse. Imagine the smell!

Lucy

Alex!

Prompter & echoes

Cruel!

Alex

It was ugly: the stench of blood, manure, and smoke.

Lucy

Disgusting! That was worship? It was shocking!

Alex

Yes, because our sins are disgusting and shocking to God;
they must be covered by an innocent victim’s blood,
so God can forgive us.
The victim was a lamb and the basic truth has not changed;
our sins still require an innocent victim’s blood.

Tino

Really? I sinned yesterday, Papa. Really bad!
I give Andy a nosebleed. So I need a lamb to kill.
Uncle Harold raises sheeps. Can I go get one?

Alex

Jesus is God’s lamb now.
He bled on the cross to take away our sins;
we relive his death when we take Communion.
That is why he said. “This is my body”
when he handed them the bread.

Lucy

Harold told me that Jesus meant it literally:
that the bread is actually Jesus’ flesh.

Prompter & Echoes

Literally!

Alex

If it were literal, the apostles would have bitten Jesus’ arm.
The Communion bread really is Jesus’ body,
but in a mystical way. No one understands a true mystery.

Lucy

Lifeless bread does not need transforming. We do.
The bread is just a symbol, is it not?

Alex

It is a symbol, Lucy, but do not say ‘just’ a symbol.
It is much more. Eating it is a participation in Jesus’ body,
as 1 Corinthians 10:16 says.
The symbol points us to the real thing
that we experience in Communion, Jesus’ presence.

Tino

Why do you call it ‘simple,’ Papa? To me it is complexicated.

Alex

Symbol, not simple.
Like a road sign, it points to something important.
When we heed the symbol with heartfelt faith and trust God to do
what the symbol points to, it takes on the authority and value
of the real thing that it symbolizes.

Tino

That is hard for me to understand, papa. I’m just little.

Alex

Okay, son, here’s an example.
If I sign an agreement and later break my word,
can I excuse myself by saying,
“My signature was only a symbol”?

Tino

No, Papa! You’d make me stand in the corner if I did that!

Alex

A symbol used with faith carries the power of what it symbolizes.
The symbol affirms its reality. The Communion bread and wine
make Jesus’ sacrifice real to us,
not only by focusing our attention on it;
it also enables us to experience his presence.
Do you understand now, Tino?

Tino

I’m not supposed to, papa.
You said nobody understands the mystery.

Prompter & echoes

Touché!

Lucy

Tino has more sense than some theologians.
They think they know
every detail about Communion and everything else.
I know one thing for sure about it;
it makes me aware of Jesus’ presence,
except when someone turns Communion into
another teaching session.

Alex

I feel his presence, too, Lucy.
The original Passover was a moving event,
Communion corresponds to the Jewish Passover.
Jesus’ words about eating his flesh to have eternal life
were also moving; we should feel awe during Communion,
and not just analyze it abstractly.

Tino

Papa, I won’t be bored no more when they serve Communion.
Now I know it’s important. I will not squirm,
like last time when you tooked me out and paddled me.

Alex

That was not for squirming; you sneered at your mom
when she corrected you.

Lucy

I heard that Communion corresponds to the Jewish Passover.

Prompter & Echoes

In what way?

Alex

Passover recalls how God’s people daubed the Lamb’s blood
by their doors. If he Death Angel saw the blood
when he flew over Egypt, then he would pass over the house
and not slay the oldest son.

Lucy

Wasn’t Jesus eating the Passover meal with his disciples
when he established the ceremony of the Lord Supper?

Alex

Yes, and that was a fearful time,
the last night before he’d be crucified.
Judas sneaked off in the dark
to betray Jesus to his enemies.

Lucy

And Jesus washed his disciples’ feet
to set an example of humble service.

Prompter & echoes

Jesus’ last supper before he died!