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United In One

Spiritual Training Cycle: Connection (wk. 8/13)

Jesus once said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” There is no denying that true sacrifice serves as the most powerful reminder of our shared humanity. When someone makes a significant sacrifice, it leaves an impression, like a mark in history, showing us the incredible strength and capacity we have to love.

We are so drawn to sacrifice that it’s written in all the greatest stories across time. All the most compelling novels, films, and artistry capture sacrifice. The film ‘Braveheart’ portrays the sacrifice of William Wallace leading the rebellion against the English during the First War of Scottish Independence. The novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ follows the acts of Atticus Finch who sacrifices his social standing and safety to defend an accused black man in a deeply racist southern town. There are so many stories, even in our personal lives, that reflect such sacrifices.

A key example is during one of the darkest events in recent history, the 9/11 attacks. Countless firefighters, police officers, and ordinary citizens made immense sacrifices to rescue and aid others in the face of grave danger. If you were around during that time, you still remember the details of that day. Sacrifice creates a sense of unity and connection among us all because deep down we can all relate and appreciate the sacrifices others have made for us. To create a more harmonious and compassionate world, we must remember these sacrifices by recording them as an example of how we must treat one another.

In CrossFit, we remember the sacrifice made by our brothers and sisters who have served our country and have gone beyond the call of duty to defend and protect it by writing their names into Hero workouts. These workouts take us out of the mindset of what we had originally come to the gym for that day. We might have had in mind we would set a personal record, out match a friend that we compete with daily, or just burn some calories. However, when you come to the gym and it’s a Hero workout, you understand this workout is about more than just yourself. It’s a workout that calls us to reflection and remembrance. There is a certain reverence we have when we do these workouts that stops all egos at the door.

The sacrament of communion is similar in this way. It points to something bigger than ourselves in which Jesus sacrificed for us. In a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he rebukes the church for their lack of reverence when participating in communion. They treated it as though it was a “normal day at the gym,” when it is so much more.

Communion is a reminder of Jesus’ last Passover meal with His disciples when He shared bread and wine with them. This was a significant moment because after this meal, Jesus would be sentenced to death. Jesus established communion as a symbol of His literal body broken, which is the bread, and His literal blood spilled on the cross, which is the wine.

Jesus’ sacrifice was set apart in history. Not only was His body a living sacrifice, but His blood became our eternal salvation. While sorrowfully many others have died for their sacrifice, Jesus also lost His life but raised it up again, defeating death. Communion is a celebration of the new life found in Jesus. Jesus proclaims that if we believe in His sacrifice made for our sins, we are set free from death as well, becoming eternally joined with God. As Jesus lives, we too can live. Because we have all sinned, His sacrifice provides the rescue for all humanity.

Communion is meant to unite us all to Jesus because we can all share in the sacrifice He made for us. When we can properly understand sacrifice, we can better unite ourselves to Him through communion. Recognizing the selflessness in personal and collective sacrifices we’ve experienced helps us empathize with the immense love demonstrated by Jesus. When we enter the gym, we should carry that spirit of love every day, not just on Hero workouts. Your attitude and presence when you train in the gym and out of the gym can be what reminds others of the sacrifice of Jesus so that they would know, “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Questions for Reflection:

What’s one of the more memorable sacrifices you’ve made for someone else? Did it draw you closer to them?

Is there a particular element of communion or way that you practice it that makes you feel most unified to Jesus?

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