In The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey shares an experience in which he was invited as one of 10 representatives of Christian faith to the city of New Orleans by a psychiatrist and author. Along with the 10 Christian believers were 10 practicing Muslims and 10 practicing Jews. The goal of the weekend was to learn more about each other’s faiths and at least talk through their differences. As part of the weekend experience, each group held a worship service while the others observed - Muslims on Friday, Jews on Saturday, and Christians on Sunday. After observing these worship services, Yancey relates what most struck him about the differences:
“The Muslim worship service consisted mostly of reverential prayers to the Almighty. The Jewish service incorporated readings from Psalms and the Torah and some warmhearted singing. Any of those elements can be found in a Christian service. What divided us from the others was the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. ‘This is my body, broken for you,’ our leader read, before distributing the bread - Christ’s body, the divergence point."
What separates Christianity at its core is the belief in God incarnate - the belief that God has taken on a body. And as an extension, we believe that this body did what no other body could - make an atoning sacrifice as a substitution for all other human bodies throughout history.
And so our Sunday worship reflects this uniqueness of Christianity. When we share in the Lord’s Supper, we participate in an act of worship that is not understood by other faiths. We partake of the life-giving body of God Incarnate. We remember why the Almighty was willing to become one of us. So never forget that He is the reason we gather on the first day of the week to break bread together (Acts 20:7).
To His Glory,