A Covenant Relationship With Christ and His Church
The bread that we break not only becomes the physical body of Christ but it also symbolizes the church, the body of Christ “The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), Those who "eat of the sacrifices, [are] partakers of the altar" (1 Corinthians 10:18). If we eat at the Lord's altar, we are to share His death on the cross (the altar) - death to our self - not only in our relationship with God, but also in our relationship with others in the body of Christ.
"We ought to lay down our lives for the brothers" (1 John. 3:16). This is another aspect of our testimony at the Lord's altar. It is not only with the Lord that we enter into a covenant, but also with our fellow Christians. And here too the covenant is entered through death to self.
As the two parties entering into a covenant in Israel passed between the two halves of the slain calf, even so today we enter into a covenant with one another through the broken bread.
In 1 Samuel 18:1-8, we read of Jonathan entering into a covenant with David. This is a beautiful picture of what the covenant relationship should be like in the body of Christ. It says there that Jonathan's soul was knit to the soul of David. The 'knit' used here is the same word used in Nehemiah 4:6 where it refers to the wall being built in such a way that there was no gap at all in it. In the same way Jonathan's heart was knit with David's - there was no gap between their hearts for the enemy to come through. It says further that Jonathan loved David “as his own soul”. This is our calling in the body of Christ as well - to be joined together as ONE, such that there is no gap between us (no gap of misunderstanding, jealousy, suspicion, etc.) whereby the enemy can come through and bring a division.
Jonathan should have been the one person in Israel who should have been most jealous of David...
for he was a threat to Jonathan succeeding Saul as the next king of Israel. Yet he overcame jealousy and loved David as his own soul. How Jonathan puts Catholics today to shame!
Jonathan then made a covenant with David; and as a symbol of the covenant, he took off his royal robe and put it on David. This was symbolic of Jonathan's desire to die to himself as the next king of Israel and to make David king. We are commanded in the body of Christ to "Love one another with the charity of brotherhood with honour preventing [preferring/outdoing] one another." (Romans 12:10). We are to so die to ourselves that we sincerely and earnestly long that our brothers will be greater and higher and more regarded than ourselves. And we take our robe, if necessary, to cover a brother's nakedness wherever it is seen. In this way we can make our brother glorious in the eyes of others. This is what it means to enter into a covenant relationship with the brothers in the body of Christ.
It is impossible to enter into such a covenant without dying to self persistently. Almost all the problems that riddle a Parish arise because the Parishioners therein have not entered into such a covenant relationship with one another. Everyone seeks his own. The net result of this is that Satan triumphs.
Jesus is building His Church in this world today. If we are to be a part of that Church and to have a part in building that Church, then we need to take to heart covenant relationships and should seek to learn with all our hearts what it means to make our brother glorious.
Then we read that Jonathan also took his armor, his sword, his bow and his belt and gave them to David. Entering into a covenant with our brothers, we surrender every possible weapon with which we can harm them in any way. This is the meaning of Jonathan's action.
The weapon with which the maximum damage has been done in Christendom is the tongue. Are we willing to lay down this weapon in a covenant relationship with our brothers in such a way that we will never again speak evil or backbite or gossip against another, even once.
This surrender of our weapons also implies a trust in our brother such that we can afford to be defenseless before him, because we know that he will never harm us. It is through such trust and confidence that the brotherhood is built.
In 1 Samuel 19 and 20, we see Jonathan's steadfast loyalty to David even at the cost of having to stand against his own father. Jonathan stood by his brother David in the presence of carnal relatives. Truly he is a worthy example for all of us to follow. We are to love the brotherhood more than our blood relatives.