Most of us have some photograph, or piece of music, or some household article, or piece of jewellery, or some saying or story etc. which we associate with a parent or parents. We treasure this because of its associations with someone we love, because of the memories it brings back.
For the same reason we see people putting some object on a coffin or on a grave.
These are symbols of the love that person has for us and we have for them.
‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.’
‘In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.’
Jesus of Nazareth is the living symbol of the love God the Creator has for me.
‘Do this in memory of me’ Jesus said at the Last Supper.
‘For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.’ said St. Paul.
That is why we are gathered here today.
That is why we look on the image of Jesus of Nazareth executed on a cross.
That is why we bow down in reverence before what seems to be simple bread and wine.
The Eucharist. Holy Communion. The Body and Blood of Jesus of Nazareth. The Breaking of Bread. The Mass. Call it what you like. Is the great symbol of Immanuel. Of ‘God with me.’
Jesus says; ’I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one.’
I do not need to go anywhere to be one with my God. The Eucharist is the symbol and the guarantee of this. Life is walking in the presence of my God at all times, in all places, in all circumstances. We come together in one place as one family to confirm our oneness with our God and to thank God, as one united family, for this great gift.
We need to come together as one family (God’s Family) every week, expressing our gratitude for ‘Immanuel’, otherwise all the above becomes vague and woolly and ceases to exercise any influence on my life and conduct.