My headache had gotten so bad that even my husband was desperate for a remedy! He read online that grape juice gets rid of migraines, so he drove to the store and bought a big bottle of the stuff. He filled a large glass with pure purple grape juice and brought it to me as I lay on the couch. Lifting the juice to my lips I stopped and looked up at him.
“Sweetheart?” I asked my preacher husband. “Could you pray for me?”
“Sure,” he said. “You want me to pray for your headache to go away?”
“No…it just feels weird to drink grape juice without praying first…”
You see, I’ve grown up in churches where we traditionally drink grape juice during communion, or the Lord’s Supper as it’s commonly called. We fill tiny plastic cups with tiny shots of purple grape juice, sit quietly while the pastor prays, then sip them in unison while the organ softly plays a hymn. The taste and smell and color of grape juice is forever associated with this tradition. The association is so strong that I rarely drink grape juice outside of a church service!
At the original Lord’s Supper (you know, the one with Jesus & His disciples) they were participating in a traditional meal as well. The Passover meal was instituted by God during the time of Moses to help the people of Israel celebrate and remember their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. This traditional meal was so well ingrained that it had become part of who they were as people. When Jesus ate this meal with His friends one last time before His death, He handed them the cup of wine (or juice or whatever grape product they traditionally drank), and instructed them to drink this in remembrance of Him.
We’ve obeyed that command as Christ followers by remembering Jesus and His death every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in our churches. And that’s good! But I wonder…Instead of referring to the specific tradition of celebrating Passover, could Jesus have meant to remember Him every time we drink grape juice (or any other “fruit of the vine” beverage)? What if we took His command to remember and made it a part of our everyday life instead of just something we do once a quarter on a Sunday morning?I think Jesus wants us to remember Him & His sacrifice so often that it becomes part of who we are.
Remembering what He did for us on the cross should affect our everyday life, not just our religious tradition. I may eventually get used to drinking more than half-a-sip of grape juice at a time, but may I never stop remembering what Jesus did for me!