The Biggest Cup

The Biggest Cup

Written on 06/10/2024
Dan Veeneman

It was a typical Sunday afternoon on the West Coast of Canada. The unrelenting pitter-patter of rain on the windows had me feeling a little Noah-esque. My family and I had just finished our bowls of Sunday soup when my son broke the silence.

“Dad, I have a question about church.”

I took a sip of my coffee and braced myself for what was coming.

“Dad, was the thing we did in church with the small cups called the Lord’s Supper?”

“Yes, it was,” I answered.

“This morning, why did the pastor get a bigger cup and bigger piece of bread than everyone else? It doesn’t seem very fair. His cup was huge, and he had, like, an entire loaf of bread.”

I knew this required a second sip of coffee, and quite possibly a third.

“Come sit over here, and let’s talk about it,” I said, buying enough time for that precious next sip.

I started with the story of the Last Supper, explaining the symbolism of both the cup and the bread, wrapping up the lesson as I drained the last few drops from my coffee cup.

“Wow, that seems pretty important,” my son replied.

Having apparently found contentment in my explanation, he left to build another space vehicle with his LEGO collection. Nevertheless, the gravity of my son's words weighed on me. With those four words—“That seems pretty important”—my son sent me on a journey of self-reflection. Did I truly comprehend the sanctity of the Lord’s Supper? Did my actions during the service genuinely reflect that belief? Had I truly grasped the profound significance and symbolism inherent in our communal act that morning during church, or had I merely been going through the motions? I was reminded of Paul’s words about the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:17-33, and they laid bare a disconcerting reality about my attitude. Lately, I had completely missed the mark, and the words of Scripture stung as I was reminded just how far I was away from the target.

Through an unassuming question, my son unwittingly reminded me that the chalice and loaf on our communion table suddenly seemed inadequate—far too modest to capture the profound essence of what we were celebrating and remembering as a congregation. Inadvertently, my son had issued me a challenge to prevent the Lord's Supper from becoming for me just another part of the Sunday-morning worship service. He encouraged me to perceive the bread and the cup for what they are: unassuming symbols conveying profound truths.

As you partake in the sacred elements of the Lord’s Supper, may my son’s question serve as a solemn invitation to reflect earnestly on your actions. May you listen closely to the words of our Lord and immerse yourself in the rich imagery in this sacred ritual. Allow the bread to satiate a hunger deeper than the physical, and let the cup quench a thirst beyond the tangible.