Jesus Christ poured out His life for the forgiveness of our sins.
The prophet Isaiah said about Jesus: “he poured out his life unto death.” (53:12) Jesus himself, while instituting the sacrament of Holy Communion at The Last Supper, said “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20)
The Bible is full of “poured out” references. In Old Testament times, blood from sacrifices was poured out before God (Leviticus 8:15). God poured out His anger on His people when they were unfaithful to Him (Jeremiah 7:20). The apostle Paul talked about being emptied. He said, “even if I am being poured out like a drink offering…I am glad and rejoice with all of you” (Philippians 2:17) and “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14).
Then there is Romans 5:5, which tells us that “…God has poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
I see two things going on: God pouring out on people and people pouring out on others.
It’s a great honor set up the altar for Holy Communion at SHLC. I’m never quite sure though if I’m filling the common chalice enough or too much. It should look full (God’s grace is abundant!) but if it’s too full then there are wine spills.
It’s interesting to think about how the cup is filled up only to be emptied back out again. It serves no other purpose. The chalice itself is made from materials that were once solid, were melted down and then poured into a mold. The change in form was necessary to make the materials into something useful.
Our common chalice feels substantial in my hands. How can something that’s hollowed out feel that way? (I know, it’s because it’s metal…I’m trying to make spiritual connections here!)
When you consider the disciplines of Lent – fasting, prayer, repentence – do you think of them as a kind of pouring out that will leave you hollowed out? This goes against our nature, which is to be filled up. (How much time and energy we spend trying to keep ourselves filled up! Life is draining.) But when we actually practice the Lenten disciplines, we find (to our surprise) that we are…filled up! We’re more than full actually, we’re spilling over. How can that be?
There is always wine in the cabinet under the sink in the sacristy, ready for use on Sundays. That’s good, because we’ve got quite a few people to be served at the altar. Each person gets just a little of the consecrated wine, just a tiny plastic cupful or a small sip from the common chalice. And yet, it’s enough – it’s more than enough – for life, and for faith and for reassurance that we are forgiven! It’s more than enough to fill us with hope in Jesus our Savior (who lives!), and in His salvation and in His promise to return.
It’s more than enough faith and hope and love to pour back out.