Don’t you hate it when you’re eating great food in an amazing atmosphere, but you’re having a subpar conversation? The french fries are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Your server is funny but not overbearing, and you’re pretty sure the hand soap in the restroom is from Trader Joe’s. But conversation feels like 16-year-old learning to drive a stick shift. For many of us, that’s how the Lord’s Supper feels.
We know the bread and the cup mean a lot. The pastor just preached a winner, and the band finally played that new CityAlight song. But conversation with Jesus is awkward, and so you’re left performing a spiritual judo move on your emotions in order to feel what you’re supposed to feel.
From experience, conversation is strained, but not because of the topic of conversation. It’s because I’m not listening. Jesus is pouring his heart out, and I’m thinking about the crispy fries and what I should say to Jesus.
Can you relate? Do you know the experience of looking to be moved by the atmosphere at the Lord’s Supper instead of listening to conversation at the Lord’s Supper? Trying to manufacture spiritual highs from the solemnity of the moment? Do you come to the Lord’s Supper more aware of what you should say to Jesus instead of what he is saying to you? My encouragement for you: slow down, listen, and enjoy.
We don’t need to fabricate a dopamine rush for Christ to want to meet with us. He’s already happy to meet with us because of Calvary. And we don’t need to start the conversation at the Lord’s Supper. Jesus already has that taken care of.
Here’s one of his favorite conversation starters: As sinners, we deserve the rod of God’s anger, but at his table, Jesus reminds us of his broken body. He says, “Take and eat.” Take and eat. We’ve heard those words before, haven’t we?
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
In Adam, we took and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But in the Last Adam, we are forgiven and offered life once again:
She took … and ate: so simple the act, so hard its undoing. God will taste poverty and death before ‘take and eat’ become verbs of salvation.
Jesus borrows language from the worst conversation and transforms it into the best conversation. He likes to do that sort of thing, doesn’t he? Bring life where there’s death? But it’s going to take his death to give you life.
While a wound in Adam’s side introduces Eve to the tree of life, a wound in the Last Adam’s side introduces his bride to the tree of life (Genesis 2:21–22; John 19:31–37).
Jesus doesn’t want you to forget the life you have in his death, so he says, “Take and eat” (1 Corinthians 11:26). And that’s just one of the things he likes to talk about at the Lord’s Supper. Listen to all his Word at the Supper, and you’re going to want to sing just like his disciples (Matt. 26:30). You’ll want to respond. You’ll have a great conversation. But you need to listen first.
Kidner, Derek. Genesis, 73.
Calvin, John. “The clear explanation of sound doctrine concerning the true partaking of the flesh and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper.” In Calvin: Theological Treatises, edited by J.K.S. Reid, 268.