Are you familiar with the voice of Holy Spirit when he speaks? Many miss the conversation because they haven't yet recognized his voice. It's a nudge, a passing thought, a whispered conviction, a question never before considered. It's the unexpected yet familiar. It belongs with you yet you know you weren't the source. It's new yet safe, and you have permission to ponder it, examine it, and respond in whatever way you wish. And if you choose to follow it, you change somehow because of it.
Jesus' words are that way. We can know them, repeat them, memorize them and churn them over until we exhaust all possibilities ~ then Holy Spirit adds more. Consider the following words of Jesus and remember the context. He will be dead in 24 hours. He is the only one fully aware of this and he chooses to give thanks. His actions and his words are deliberate. Paul summarizes that moment in that time.
"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 - NIV)
I was alone, early one morning listening to these verses and as the last sentence was read, Holy Spirit asked me, "What do you proclaim? And who do you proclaim it to?"
I'd never considered the question before. Whenever I have participated in Holy Communion it has always been in the context of remembrance. "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do so in remembrance of me..."
"I'm not really sure. I've never considered it from that perspective."
Twice in my entire life have I experienced a vision. Yet rather than continuing the conversation, I found myself hurling to through the galaxies; planets and stars passing by and the earth in its beauty becoming smaller in the distance. Without any clear sense of speed, I saw the vast galaxies and the beauty of infinite space. It was as though I was seeing creation more through the eyes of God, than through my own.
After a few moments I realized I was slowing down and found myself suspended in space. The presence of the Father, ever present filled everything behind me and on my left side. Without warning, I saw the vast army of heaven stretch out as far as my eyes could see. They seemed to stretch into infinity in a straight line to both my left and right. They stood clad in full armour and incredibly fit. Pressed together about ten angels deep. Ready for a fight. Muscles rippled. Towering above me, maybe twelve feet tall.
I stood behind them, like Frodo Baggins, on tiptoe, jumping as high as I could to see beyond them. I felt the Father's smile as he lifted me on his finger and allowed me to rest on him above their heads. Across from this infinite line, a demonic line was materializing; equally large but filled with evil. Directly across from where I rested stood Lucifer. He dripped with hateful cruelty.
I remember realizing, "I'm not afraid." Then I smiled to myself when I thought of who I was with. I felt like the little kid with big friends.
Then Father spoke to the angels, but I heard no sound. I simply knew. Communication happened without words. He lowered me down and the angels parted in front of me. I felt the Father's finger gently direct me forward between the wall of angels on either side. I continued until I stood in that vast space stretching to the right and left between those two armies. ~ It was awesome. I could see all of this from two perspectives at the same time. I could see through my own eye, up close, the sneering faces of evil, while I was a spectator perched above and behind the heads of the angels.
I laughed when I saw myself in that vast space; a spindly kid in shorts, white-legged, surrounded by towering armies squared off for battle. I knew a fight was imminent and I prepared myself for the inevitable.
It was then that Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, "Tell them."
Without hesitation I knew what to say. In my hands were a small wafer and a small cup of grape juice; my communion. I lifted my hands, holding the bread and the cup up high in front of me. I stared at the demonic horde and proclaimed in a clear, confident voice, "We won."
Instantly the whole demonic horde dissolved before my eyes.
The entire vision was over even as Holy Spirit's questions were still fading in my hearing; "What do you proclaim? And who do you proclaim it to?"
So each morning at the beginning of each day, I take a small cracker and a small cup of juice and I declare the Lord's death until he comes. I declare it over my family, my health, the needs in my community and world. And I remember...We've won.