When Jesus was breaking the bread and pouring out the wine for the first Eucharist, I wonder what was going through the disciples’ minds. Were they distracted by thoughts of tomorrow’s dinner or sounds from the street outside? Were they joyful because they were sharing a meal with people they loved? Or were they grieving the betrayal Jesus told them was coming?

Did they realize the significance of the moment?

I used to imagine the point when Jesus broke the bread as this pure, miraculous instant where one little room in Jerusalem experienced complete redemption in Christ right here on earth. But I think that forgets the very human people who Jesus sat next to at the table. They didn’t leave their humanity at the door. They carried it in with them, just like we do today.

We come broken. We come tired. We come jealous. We come distracted. We come hurt. We come joyful. We come grieving. We come anxious. We come angry. We come confused. We come empty. We come bursting.

But to the table we come. And there God greets us with a meal we cannot eat anywhere else. Jesus breaks the bread of life for us, and hands us a cup filled with the deep red wine that flows from his heart into ours.

Communion isn’t holy because we come into it with our hearts fully set on God and our minds fully focused on the meaning of Jesus’s sacrifice. It’s holy because we don’t do either of those things, and God cleanses us of our sins, anyway. We hear Jesus’s words, but we only comprehend a sliver of them. We watch what Jesus does, but the world watches us and struggles to see the connection to the man we try to imitate.

And yet, in spite of all that, we come to the table, and Jesus feeds us.

About the author

Grace Ruiter is digital content coordinator for the Reformed Church in America.