I have had the privilege of witnessing the beauty of the unity of the Body of Christ. When I was living in Costa Rica, we went for a weekend to a Young Life Camp called “La Vida”. “La Vida” means “The Life” and what an accurate description that was. There was beautiful life everywhere: in the indescribable beach setting, in the countenance of the people there, and in the message which they proclaimed.
The director of “La Vida”, Marv Asphalt, led us in a beautiful Sabbath service right on the beach. I found myself surrounded by all different kinds of people, from all different walks of life. There was a youth group from the United States, who had an incredible heart for worship. There were the Asphalts, who had committed their lives to missions and to leading young people to Christ. There were Costa Rican “La Vida” staff members who had also devoted their lives to spreading the gospel. There was a Costa Rican Catholic priest, who ran the orphanage located next to “La Vida”. And there were lots and lots of beautiful Costa Rican children, bound to each other because of a common lot…being an orphan. We all came together with all of our differences, and worshiped in unity. We were allowed the gift of witnessing a historic event…it was the first time that Marv, a Methodist minister, and the Catholic priest had come together to share the Sabbath. They stood side by side and broke the communion bread together, reminding us of the broken body of our Lord. Marv spoke of the Body of Christ….of the Unity of the Body, and of breaking down the divisions in the Body. Together, they served the group. Each person received a special blessing as they were served…it was if the focus was totally on that person. It brought to mind the reality that the Cross was a personal gift to each one of us…if I was the only one that needed saving, Christ still would have died. Impossible, yet true! Before each of the orphaned children, Marv knelt, looking each one in the eye, explaining that the Broken Body of the King of Kings was a gift for each of them; that we are all orphans until we are adopted into the Family of God, whereby we cry, Abba! Father! Daddy!
When all had been served, Marv lifted the remaining bread toward heaven. With tears streaming down his face, he said in a loud voice…. “It Is Finished!”
“It is finished!” Those words were spoken from the cross, just before our Savior died for us. “It is finished.” There is nothing more, which needs to be done. He did it all for us. We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn. Jesus bought it for us. And it is free. The completed work of Christ offered as a gift to our weary, lost and orphaned souls. The Body was broken once and for all. Communion is a reminder of that. We do not need to break the Body again, as we often do through our divisions and pettiness and self-righteousness. In the High Priestly prayer, the last before his betrayal, our Lord included a call to Unity…
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me….
May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:20,21, 23