And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
I think we can never meditate enough on Jesus’ death on the Cross. And now, His resurrection invites us not just to reflect on His gift, but also to live into His gift.
This past weekend, on Holy Saturday, I was holding our one-year-old foster son in my arms before putting him to bed. He laid his head on my shoulder as I sang to him, and then, rather uncharacteristically, he kept it there.
A mix of emotions stirred in me as this little boy nestled into my arms: I felt joy, sadness, hope, anger, and apprehension, to name a few.
Joy that even though he is not my son, he has grown to know and trust me enough to relax into my arms.
Sadness because he needs his mom and dad, and he is growing up day-by-day without them.
Hope because being enfolded in a consistent, loving family reduces his risk of developing an attachment disorder that could hinder him throughout the rest of his life.
Anger at a world that elevates adults’ right to sexual pleasure over a child’s right to grow up with his biological mother and father.
And apprehension because the longer he is with us, the more painful it will be should the day come when he goes home.
With this mix of emotions stirring as I held him, I breathed the words I’ve learned to pray: “This is my body, given for you.”
I spoke it over my foster son, for sure, and I meant it. But my words were also a prayer.
Rather than seeking to become more like Jesus by thinking about what I’m supposed to do or what I’m not supposed to do, I am trying to learn to respond to Jesus’ immense gift of love by receiving Him and then very practically offering my body back to Him in loving reply.
Every act of self-giving, every service, every sacrifice, and every time we endure trial, temptation, or suffering, we can do so as a gift we give in response to Jesus. In a very real way, we do this by saying back to Jesus the words He said to us.
“This is My body given for you,” He said.
“And this is my body, given for You,” we reply.
In long hours resisting temptations to indulge in sin, “Jesus, this is my body, given for You.”
When checking in on an elderly neighbor, rather than curling up in front of the TV, “Lord, this is my body, given for you.”
When taking out the trash rather than waiting for your roommate to do it…
When holding your tongue rather than biting back at an unfair comment…
When helping with a son or daughter’s at-home schoolwork…
When giving up a beloved thing so someone else can have it…
In all these and so many other situations, you can imagine Jesus on the cross, saying to you, “This is My body, given for you.”
How will you reply this day?
Question: What’s one area of your life where, in a tangible way, you can begin practicing offering yourself back to Jesus in reply to His generous gift of Himself to you?