(The following were written as an encouragement to a sweet saint who has been kept from physical fellowship and participation in church with the Lord’s Table. I hope it was of encouragement to her and perhaps it may be of encouragement to someone else.)
The night our Lord was betrayed, he told his disciples that he will leave but he will not leave the disciples as orphans. The Lord will ask of the Father and the Father will send the Comforter, the Counselor, the Helper, the Spirit in the Name of the Son. The Spirit has been with them and now will be in them. But not only the Spirit, the Father will come to those who love the Son, and the Son too, and they will “make [their] home with” his disciples. John 14:23. That promise was made to them at first, but it is good to us in this day. Those who love Christ will receive Christ.
Our Lord then told his disciples that he is the vine – we are only branches. Our life is in him and we share in that life. As Paul write to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20-21.
The life of every believer is bound up in the life of Christ. The people of God are the family of God and as Paul writes to the Corinthians “we who are many are one body.” 1 Cor. 10:17.
That body of Christ, that shared life of Christ is not bound by time or space. The life which Christ imparted to his first disciples, is the same life we share today. The believer who lives furthest from me on this globe is today my brother or sister – and is today part of the same body of Christ. For Christ is not bound by space of time, as he said after his resurrection, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20.
And so while the physical presence of a fellow believer is a comfort to us, we are never distant from our true life, for we have died and our life is hidden in Christ. Col. 3:3.
But God is gracious to the weakness of his children, he knows our frame, he remembers he made us from dust. Ps. 103:14. He gave us the cup and the bread so that we could have sensible forms to communicate this knowledge to us, to comfort our hearts and assure of his promise that we have been united to him.
And the bread which the Lord gives to us is one, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” 1 Cor. 10:17. And as Christ is not limited by time and space, we who have lived so long after the first disciples and so far away from them still partake of that one bread of life.
And I am certain that even now, even though you are kept physically separate from other believers – you are not separated from Christ and you are not separated from the true Body of Christ. And the Lord who is gracious and merciful and not willing to lose the least of his sheep, will see your heart and your desire to partake of the one bread and will bless you in that desire to be obedient to him.