So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. 2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
One of the most impactful lines of traditional communion liturgy, in my opinion, is the part right after talking about what Jesus did at the last supper, and right before we invite the Holy Spirit into the sharing of these elements. It typically says:
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
It’s this idea that in looking back and remembering what Christ did for us, His taking the time to carve out this open invitation to community sharing right before His crucifixion, we give thanks and that thanks encourages us to use our very selves, our very bodies as a holy sacrifice just as Jesus did for us.
It sounds very extreme, and I wonder how many people have really thought about what that means when they come up to the table. In looking at it in relation to Paul’s letter to the Romans where he encourages us to “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God”, we get a similar idea. When we are transformed by the love of God, when it brings us to a place of community where there was once turmoil, and to a place of service where there was once self-interest – it is not just our spirits that are transformed. Our bodies become that holy and living sacrifice when we have them move, in the ways they can, toward an act of being closer to Christ.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Have you ever caught this part of the communion liturgy? If so, what has it made you think of? Take a look at the traditional service that sits at the front of the hymnal by going to this link. What does it look like to you to offer yourself to the work of God in this way?
Prayer: Holy God, You have sacrificed greatly for us and today we offer ourselves to Your work here on earth. We ask that You guide us so that we may be used for Your service of good and hope in the world. Amen.