Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
1 Corinthians 11:23-2
There is a term in psychology called “habituation.” It means that a stimulus has less and less impact on us the more we are exposed to it. We “get used” to the stimulus.
As much as we hate to admit it, we have become habituated to many of the biblical stories. We hear them so much that they start to lose their impact. We don’t want to read them again because we already know what happens, we already know the message—we “get it.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is one such passage, when Paul is reminding the Corinthians of the first Lord’s Supper. Jesus’ words during the meal with his disciples are used every time we have communion: “This is my body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me” and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 24b & 25b).
How often we forget that these words should never lose their impact. In that moment, Christ told his disciples that he was giving himself up for them and for his people. His body was for us. His blood was shed to set us free, to begin the new covenant. His death was the only way his people could have life, and have it abundantly. We are alive in Christ because of his sacrifice for us on the cross.
During the Lent season, we remember this sacrifice by giving up something ourselves. It is a time to remember that Christ’s death was the ultimate sacrifice, but also a time for self-reflection. What do we give up for Lent? Do we give up the same thing every year simply because it’s habit, or because it will benefit us? The foremost reason for Lent is to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice for us, that our sins are what put him there.
But Lent is also a time for rejoicing. We are reminded that Christ loved us so much that he was willing to give up his life for us. He literally defeated death so we no longer had to fear it. We rejoice in Jesus’ words recounted in 1 Corinthians—and we live in the assurance that even death cannot keep us from God.
In response to his unfailing love for us, we are called to carry out the command Jesus gave his disciples: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13: 34-35). This is another passage that we cannot become callous to—proclaiming that Christ perseveres through his people. By loving others, we show Christ to a broken world.
As David wrote in Psalm 116, “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people…Truly I am your servant Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains” (v. 14, 16). We are called to act in accordance to God’s will in response to Christ’s sacrifice, demonstrating his love to the world and serving others just as Christ did. Let us remember and rejoice in the incredible gift of life the Lord has given us!