For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus took bread, brake it, and said, Take, this is my body, this do in remembrance of me...
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he describes that he had “received of the Lord,” and what he had received he now passed on to them. And just what was it that he had received? The sacrament and the testament associated with it. What is interesting about this assertion is that Paul was not actually present when Jesus gave this sacrament. He was not a follower of Jesus at that time, nor would be until after Jesus’s death.
Now Paul did have a direct experience with the Savior though. He heard his voice and received a charge from him while traveling to Damascus. But this is not the experience Paul points to as having been his moment of “receiving the Lord.” He points instead to the formal sacrament ceremony, which ceremony he had evidently held among the saints in Corinth.
As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come
And they continued steadfastly in breaking of bread, and in prayers
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread
Nor did Paul share the sacrament with others only once. As we know, the pattern was to meet together often and break bread and drink wine, even on a weekly basis. And so it is a regularly reoccurring practice that Paul is pointing to as the roots of his discipleship.
This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
I have also had singular moments of spiritual intensity in my discipleship. But those brief, powerful moments do not encompass my entire life. Perhaps they were enough to keep me faithful in the moment that they occurred, but if they were all that I had, eventually the spiritual fervor would grow stale and I would stray.
What keeps me grounded through the years is regular, simple reaffirmations, such as are found in the sacrament. It would seem that Paul felt the same. That was the whole idea behind the sacrament, in fact. As Jesus gave it to his disciples, he specifically instructed that this was something to be done repeatedly, in order to maintain a continual remembrance of him.