“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” (Eph. 5:29-30)
This meal is the very thing that we have considered this morning. Our High Priest gives us his own flesh and blood. We are his own flesh, his flesh and bones, and the Lord feeds us and cares for us. And this points to at least two realities. First, the very act of giving us his body is treating us like priests. In some traditions, the pastor says, ‘holy things for the holy,’ when the sacrament is celebrated. And this is exactly what the Protestant Reformers meant when they referred to the priesthood of all believers. We all partake of the sacrament, but then we hand one another the bread and the wine, and we share in that nourishing and cherishing. We are all priests and sacrifices to and for one another, offering one another the flesh and blood, and feeding one another and caring for one another as members of His body. And this act follows us out into the world, back into our families, back into our classes, back to our jobs. And the grace follows us, the Spirit goes with us, strengthening our hands to serve and to heal and to bestow, opening our mouths to speak words of healing and kindness and grace. This is what it means to be a royal priesthood, to be his beloved children. We are his flesh and blood, we are heirs of the King, and all of his riches of mercy and grace are ours. And that’s the last point: God always gives himself. There are no substitutes. He doesn’t try to buy us off. He gives, he gives excessively, and he gives himself overflowing. We have an inheritance that cannot be counted, cannot be weighed, and is inexhaustible, and that’s because it’s God himself. God gives himself to us, and then gives himself through us. You are the holy ones of God; you are his saints. And God gives himself to you, that he might be given through you. So come: eat, drink, and rejoice.