NPR gave a report a few years ago about the relationship between our minds and our stomachs. Scholars at UCLA conducted some experiments that give us some insight on what we know as a ‘gut feeling.’ Their studies indicate that microbes in our stomachs affect the neural activity of the brain. They concluded: “Your brain is not just another organ. It is affected by what goes on in the rest of your body.” Scientists are discovering that there is a vast network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive that some researchers have nicknamed it our “second brain.”
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and invited his disciples to eat and drink with him as a way of following him, he was reaching us as holistic people. We do not simply follow Jesus by affirming right doctrine in the head (as important as that is); we walk in the way of Jesus on a very visceral level, literally! Perhaps Jesus knew that the way to our hearts is through our stomachs.
We observe the Lord’s Supper as part of our full-orbed Christian discipleship. This is also why practices like hospitality and even church potlucks have the incredible power to form us as the people of God. As often as we break bread together and drink together, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. We preach Christ not only with mouths, but with our stomachs. How cool is that!
Look down O Lord, I pray, on all of us, your family for whom the Lord Jesus was betrayed and delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer torment on the cross. In the Holy Supper which you have instituted, let us remember this great love which you have bestowed on us. May I eat and drink knowing the wondrous unity I have with you, in Christ. Amen.