Yesterday I was talking about the connection in some people’s mind between sadness and holiness. As one brother in Guatemala said, the only things missing from some services are the candles and the casket. Why do we feel the need to create a funeral atmosphere in our church services, particularly during the Lord’s Supper?
Part of the problem, I think, is a misunderstanding of Paul’s comment that “…as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) I think we lose sight of the fact that proclaiming Jesus’ death is a proclamation of triumph. When we proclaim his death, we do so knowing that the tomb is empty. When we proclaim his death, we proclaim the fact that death could not hold him.
When I think of how to proclaim Jesus’ death, I turn to Revelation 5:
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9–10)
We proclaim Jesus’ death in a song of triumph, not a funeral dirge. The meal we eat is not a wake; it’s a celebratory feast!
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5–6)
When we come together to eat the bread and drink the cup, let’s proclaim to the world the wondrous news: He has risen!