To the Core of Being

“This is the Covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My People.     Jeremiah 31:33

In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood, which is poured out for you.      Luke 22:20

Covenant is a concept which is found at the root of every culture throughout the world; in North America’s First Nations, it goes by the name of “Blood Brother.”  The key is when the participants make a cut, usually on the hand or arm, and then join the bleeding cuts.  As the Bible emphasizes, “the Blood is the Life,” or actually more accurately, “the Soul” or even the very “Core” of a person, so in this way, as the two now have “one Blood,” they have one Life, one Soul, one Core of Being flowing through each’s veins.

The ramification is that this is the deepest bond possible between individuals, an extraordinary closeness, which has nothing to do with sex, and is shared above any and all other relationships, even marriage, among their circles of friends and family.

Unfortunately this bedrock practice had a glaring flaw: although it was treated and even believed as if one Blood actually flowed between two persons – it was not true; at best it had always only been symbolic.  Even when God cut Covenant with mankind, it was all symbolic – all the more so because God had no body, He didn’t even have physical Blood.  How, then, could God and man share one Blood when God had none?!

There are three occasions in the church year which deal directly to this point.  The first one is Christmas, when something dramatic happened in all the cosmos.  Suddenly, God had Blood!  Suddenly everything that had been alluded to down through the centuries took a giant step toward reality.  In Jesus Christ, not only did God have Blood, but now literally, one Blood flowed between God and man – the door to sharing the one Life, one Soul, one Core of Being as a reality now came into physical reality.

Think of that!  All those centuries, all those generations from Adam and Eve, when God participated in Covenant, it was always with the UNattainable ideal that God could literally become that close to mankind.  But here in the Person of Jesus, everything that Covenant between God and man spoke of was actually happening!  In one Body, God and man literally shared the same Blood – something not even possible in a human-to-human Covenant!

Then very hard on the heels of Christmas came the next profound occasion, on the eighth day Jesus was circumcised.  Not only did God have Blood, but now, for the first time, GOD was cut, GOD BLED!  What a staggering fact this in itself was!  In the agelessness of God, how could we ever comprehend that for no other species, no other creature, not even for angels, did God become their form and bled in their Blood in order to commit Himself to them.  We know of no other creature in this universe whom God raised up to the height of sharing His divinity in this very real way.

Significantly in Circumcision Jesus bled for the sake of Covenant.  This was His oath in His own Blood: His promise was that He would bleed again, He would give everything He had and was, He would withhold nothing – not even His life would be withheld for the sake of His Covenant-Partners. GOD BLED SO AS TO SHARE IN COVENANT SO THAT MANKIND’S PARTICIPATION WOULD NOW BE REAL.

However, consider this: millions throughout the Old Testament times had also been cut – circumcised – and were placed into this precious relationship with God – and now God’s Blood flows backwards through Covenant into the past and mixes with theirs.  From this point, God stood fully among humanity, with the mixed human Covenant-Blood now flowing through Jesus’ veins.  This now was the Blood of scholars and dunces, murderers and protectors, kings and slaves, priests and non-believers.  For the believer who understood Covenant, can you possibly imagine how very excited he would be to learn of Christmas and the circumcision of Jesus!

The ideal of Covenant has traveled a great distance at this point, and was beyond any of mankind’s wildest dreams; yet again the same problem cropped up, all this was merely symbolic.  It was all theoretical philosophy.  True, God and mankind truly did have one Blood in Jesus, but how about between Jesus and other humans?  It was still symbolism.

Until the night before Jesus’ death.  For the first time in all history, not only did God have Blood, not only did He bleed, but now, His Blood would indeed truly flow through YOUR veins.  This is the relationship which all history from Adam and Eve had been yearning for!

No wonder Jesus would say earlier in Luke’s Gospel [22:15], “With great eagerness I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  God Himself was excited!  He was excited because now finally there would be a New Covenant, not the old one with mere symbolism, but now one where God actually had Blood, He bled, and His Blood in Holy Communion would indeed flow through your veins.
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Can you imagine how God must have been simply thrilled to finally come to where in His Great Plan of salvation He could THIS INTIMATELY share Himself with you?  HE waited thousands of years to finally get to this place!  What  a sense of relief and joy in that the waiting was now over and that He could express Himself unreservedly in this way.

And now you then understand just how precious the occasion of Holy Communion is to HIM.  He had to travel a long distance to get here!  Not only did He put aside all His power and Glory – He had to get Blood and bleed!  Imagine how He never will give up what He has achieved – HE enjoys it so much!

After all, He is willing to leave the throne of the universe again!  He is willing to be again present on this earth yet one more time in Flesh and Blood, just so that one more time your Bloods will mix and His LifeBlood will actually flow through your veins yet again.  Again He is eager to pledge His everything in Covenant to you.  Again He is saying that He will withhold nothing, not even the giving His Life – His LifeBlood – from you this one more time.

In fact the tragedy of Holy Communion is that how many countless times does Jesus show up to here renew this Covenant, to again have this very intimate sharing of all He is, to literally re-experience His Blood in your veins, your Blood in His veins – only to discover during this worship you weren’t here!  Can you imagine how utterly disappointed He just has to be!  After all, “with great eagerness, I have earnestly desired to share this meal with you!” was what Jesus said.  How little we think of GOD being excited by Holy Communion.  Yet He has waited thousands of years to get to this point, and He had to do so much to finally get here.

However, how often is coming to worship such a chore for us?  Being here especially when Holy Communion is offered competes with all sorts of things: curling, hockey, visiting relatives, sleeping in, and so much more.

And meanwhile Jesus walks away, disappointed, and perhaps a bit frustrated, because He has so looked forward to having this time with you.  After all, you mean a great deal to Him.  After all, who else do you know would take on human form particularly to have Blood that He could share it in Covenant with you?  Who else do you know who not only would give His life for you, but actually did trade His own life with yours?

Lest we trivialize how much Jesus counts us as so important, remember that He was not looking forward to when He would bleed again.  That night after He shared Himself in Communion, He would SWEAT BLOOD under the extreme stress of facing hours in the pure hatred of mankind, of the abuse and mockery of mankind, and then the cross, where even the Father would turn His back on His own Son.

This New Covenant is pretty important to Jesus.  It cost Him a lot.  Yet under this New Covenant, He pledges Himself all over again to give to you everything He is and has – however, no longer would give His life for you – THIS time, He gives His Life, His Soul, His Core of Being TO you.

Yet Covenant is not all one way: Jesus can have the same expectations of you as you have of Him.  Will you withhold nothing from Him?  Would you really place into His beck-and-call everything you are, everything you have and everything you do?  Will you listen to Him just as much as you demand Him to listen to you?  Will YOUR Blood flow through Jesus’ veins as much as you desire His to flow through yours?

As we come forward for Holy Communion, perhaps there a bit of hesitancy in your step.  We come, realizing that Covenant is much greater than what lies within our power.  This is no mere symbolism where we know it isn’t really happening, instead there is a reality here that cannot be fully understood: although there is bread and wine, there is also Jesus’ Flesh and Blood which enters us at every level of our being.

Humbly we realize we cannot be equal in this Covenant.  But Jesus doesn’t place the limitation on us as to whether we are equal to Covenant.  Instead He draws us to Himself, pouring into us His LifeBlood, pouring into us Himself.  You see, His Covenant is not conditional, based on our present or future ability to live up to it.  Rather it is based upon His love and His eagerness to make it a reality, in Person.  And on top of that, as He pours His LifeBlood into our veins, He pours into us an ability to follow Covenant like we’ve never had before, because we now have HIS ability.

So He beckons to us now and every Communion; does it seem as though Jesus’ LifeBlood is getting a bit thin in your Blood?  The answer is very easy!  Come and experience again this New Covenant in which Jesus mixes more and more of His Life, His Soul, the Core of His Being in your veins, and discover what it means that more and more of His LIFE will be showing up in your life, more and more of His love and His nature and His Glory will be shining through in you — because His Blood is indeed in YOUR veins!

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