“While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” -Matthew 26:26-28
It is highly likely that at some point yesterday, we heard some variation of these words spoken. They are an integral part of the Communion Liturgy, and a cornerstone of Christianity. The institution of Holy Communion is a reminder that Christ came and died for our sins and, by His death and resurrection, we were freed from slavery to sin and death. Lent is also a reminder of this great truth and promise, as well as a reminder that we are blessed children of God.
The act of blessing something is to infuse it with holiness; when the pastor holds hers or his hands over the bread and juice and asks God to “pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine;” they are asking God to “make them be for us the Body and Blood of Christ,” thus making them Holy, making them a reminder and a symbol of Christ’s ultimate act of love.
We see Jesus doing the same thing in three of the four Gospels that tell the story of the Last Supper. Jesus takes the food that God has laid before them, gives thanks, and then He blesses them, making them something more, something greater than simply bread and wine. In fact, every time Jesus blesses something or someone in the Bible, he does so to turn it in to something greater than what He found.
Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that those who are the weakest among us shall be blessed to become the greatest. That is the power of Christ. That is the power of being blessed, of being infused with holiness, of being made different by God. Just as when the pastor blessed the elements and makes them something more, God has blessed us to make us something more.
Jesus, following His resurrection, said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,”(John 20:29). Friends, we are blessed because we have not seen and yet believed, but because of our belief, we are blessed to see God. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are blessed to be something more than we were when Christ found us.