I couldn’t escape this deep feeling of loneliness a few weekends ago. It seemed to weigh me down like I was carrying this huge weight around with me throughout the weekend.
Mentally, I knew I was not alone, but at the time, my heart felt a deep sense of loneliness for a myriad of reasons.
I live far away from my family, and a planned trip to see them was put on hold because our kids were sick. I hadn’t spent much time with my friends and felt isolated. I was tired and hadn’t been eating well or exercising.
That weekend I was in a deep funk. I was lonely.
Loneliness may be the defining characteristic of our time. We are connected like never before, and yet, the true connection we all need seems to grow more elusive. We know something about everybody, but we barely know anybody truly.
When we are lonely, we are not alone
Many of us feel this loneliness all of the time; it is a continual reality.
In the midst of my own struggle with loneliness, God reminded me of a major truth as our church took the Lord’s Supper together the next Sunday.
Through the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, God communicates a deep and eternal truth to us: We are not alone.
Though it is a simple truth, it does not simply make everything better. Though it isn’t magic, it is transformative.
A spiritual truth in the Lord’s Supper
Jesus is with us. When we doubt this truth, we remember the body and blood of Jesus. God, in the bread and the cup, has given us a way to form our hearts to remember his love and his presence.
In Jesus’ broken body and spilled blood, we can know we are not alone.
If Jesus loved us enough to have his body broken and his blood spilled as the new covenant for us, then we can trust his love and know he is with us every moment of every day.
In the passing of the bread and the cup, we are reminded that the presence of Jesus is always with us. This is his body. This is his blood. We are to take and eat. We are to take and drink. He is with us, here, in this room where his people are gathered.
When we take the Lord’s Supper, we also are reminded of all of God’s promises.
We remember the promise he makes never to leave us nor forsake us. We remember the promise that nothing in this life or the next can snatch us out of his hand. We remember the promise of redemption, restoration and resurrection in the kingdom of God.
A physical reality in the Lord’s Supper
On that same Sunday, I also realized a physical reality. The plate with the bread was passed around, and together we waited until thanks were given and partook of the bread as one. The cups were passed around, and we held them until thanks were given and drank of our cup as one.
On the stage in that moment, I was reminded: This is my family. I am not alone. We all are in this together.
We all are pursuing Jesus together. We all are walking through the valleys of this life together. We all have known the grace of God in the body and blood of Jesus.
God is with me. He is with me in the hugs, prayers and love of his people. He has given us his church so that we might never be alone.
Our hearts must continually be reminded of this truth: God is with us. We are not alone.
When God’s church gathers around his table to remember the body and blood of Jesus—proclaiming his death until he returns—God, in his grace, reminds us: We are not alone.
Zac Harrel is pastor of First Baptist Church in Gustine, Texas.