Have you ever had the experience of walking somewhere at night and being scared by something you saw? You saw a shadow and thought that something, or somebody, was going to jump out at you. Or, perhaps you saw what looked like eyes staring at you. Your fight or flight mechanism started to kick in. You took another step only to discover that the shadow you saw was cast by some harmless object or the eyes you thought saw were really only a harmless reflection. You feared because you couldn’t see things as they really were. Your perception was distorted.
This kind of reality distortion can affect us in spiritual things as well. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:3, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see…” (NIV)
Even as Christians it is often hard to see things as they really are. We have God’s promises but it is difficult to see how they are being fulfilled. For example, Hebrews 2:8 says, “…In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.” (NIV)
In this context, the Communion is an important corrective. It helps us see things as they really are. The bread which represents Christ’s broken body, and the juice which represents Christ’s blood, help us see the reality of our sin. They help us remember the reality that our sin has been paid for. They help us remember the reality that Jesus rose from the dead and that we have the hope of eternal life. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV)