“Communion is a way of remembering… remembering that we have done nothing to earn our salvation, while Christ did everything, the only reason being His love.”

The speaker finished and read the usual verses before we took communion. How many times have I heard those verses in my short life? I wondered. The quiet music began. Small tables stood on the sides of the room, a round loaf of bread and a cup of juice awaiting the quiet, solemn observers. As always I closed my eyes before standing, to take a moment to reflect. And there he was.

A weak and crumpled body, he lay on the floor, tainting it with his blood. He barely had the strength to breath – let alone stand – yet somehow he moved his face towards mine. It was so twisted by violent, bloodred stripes and bruises that it could scarcely be recognized as human.  His mouth tilted upwards into a joyful smile.

With agonizing pain etched on his face, he pushed himself from the floor, blood smearing across the chairs that made up the row in front. Smears of bright red against everything he touched. An arm stretched towards me, evidence of countless lashes across the skin. The hand – I turned away as bile rose to my mouth. The hand was mutilated even more than the man’s face by a deep hole through which I could see tendons, bone, and a glimpse of the floor below.

The man’s hand remained outstretched. I looked into his face. Tears ran down his cheeks, dripping pale red onto the floor. The look in his face hit me like a punch, as well as the realization… These wounds were for me. He had bowed beneath the whip, silently succumbed to the nails and hammer, and felt the blow of a thousand mocking tongues… all for me.

I feel to my knees beside him, weeping. Arms enfolded me. Kindness flooded my soul, a kindness that understood why I could form no words but “thank you.”

Some count gold as their riches. Others the gleam of jewels. But for me, there is nothing more precious or valuable than the innocent blood, spilled from my Maker, that frees my chains and gives me entrance to a sunless yet lightfilled city when my days have reached their end.