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Communion as Community: Rethinking the Lord’s Supper

Today I have been thinking about communion for some reason. My preacher said something in the sermon that I jotted down feeling the weight of its importance on my heart. His sermon was entitled “Gratitude” and he challenged us to think about those whom we are thankful for. He said:

Be thankful for each other because of the faith. Those who you share a common salvation.

I thought about that today and the Lord’s Supper kept coming to my mind. The Lord’s Supper (or communion…or Eucharist if you fancy that) is an opportunity for believers to gather around the table and share in common a meal (bread and wine) in order to remember the death of Jesus (see 1 Cor. 11:17-33 for background of this feast). We observe this supper each Sunday in our church and many others do the same.

The goal of this eating and drinking is a mutual proclamation of the death of Jesus (HE DIED!) until he comes again. Without words we remember his body with the bread, his blood with the wine. The way we take communion at our church is a group of men pray over the bread and we pass around trays and then a group of men pray over the wine (grape juice) and we pass around those trays. It has historically been a quiet time of personal reflection with many reading a few Scriptures and others silently praying.

I wish it were different. I wish we gathered around a table having conversation (maybe even real wine!) and discussing the Lord’s death and his life in us. Yet, just because we do not do that does not take anything away from the death of Jesus.

Gratitude.

Yesterday as we passed the trays I looked across the auditorium glancing at people I was thankful for and it brought me to a warm place where we shared and had things in common.

The lady who just received news earlier that week she has cancer.

Do this in remembrance of me.

The teenager who just lost a coach who was close to her.

Do this in remembrance of me.

The parent who is struggling to provide for their children.

Do this in remembrance of me.

The mom who is about to have surgery.

Do this in remembrance of me.

The parents who struggle with their children splitting time with other parents.

Do this in remembrance of me.

Communion is our community. We gather together arriving with different stories but all coming to the same Savior. We get to “examine ourselves” each week knowing that we are found wanting and in need of a cleansing relief from Jesus.

Jesus whispers to each of us…

Take… Eat…

Take… Drink…