Tomorrow (Oct. 6th, 2013) is World Communion Sunday. I typically don’t care for worldwide religious events but this one is apart from those things where there is an attempt to put all of us in one box for whatever reason. Jesus spread his message to all nations and bodies of believers sprung up in diverse locations spreading the message of the savior. It is that body of Christ that connects every Christian regardless of the denomination they a part of.
But with this event, I really like the idea of a day set aside for all denotations to hold together in Christ’s love and break bread together as one. As the body of Christ. We are separate members but each a different role and function in that body. World Commination Sunday is a means to express that in a wonderful way.
A while back we were practicing communion in our church. The scriptures being read, and a setting that is so familiar to us in our churches across the globe. For some reason, I had an epiphany reading along in the Bible.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to his disciples and said, "Take this and eat it. This is my body." Then he took the cup. He gave thanks and handed it to them. He said, "All of you drink from it. This is my blood of the new covenant. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.
Matthew 26:26-28 (NIRV)
What stood out to me clear as day this time was something that had been obscured to me so many times before and has now become part of my daily life. Hopefully it will for you as well after reading this blog.
“While they were eating” that’s it! I’m fairly sure that some are saying to themselves what’s it? Again the obvious “While they were eating”.
Jesus had gathered with his disciples to celibate the Passover with them. While this was a special meal of observance what they had to eat was not out of character with the staples of the day. On the contrary, bread was central to their food supply and wine was safer to consume than most water supplies and was typical of most meals. These were the common every day food and drink.
At various time I’ve heard discussions of the use of grape juice in place of the wine, wafers vs pieces of bread, and so on. The elements of communion are not important. The condition of the heart in the believer is the important component.
But for the first time by way of the epiphany I was having I came to understand what Jesus was telling his disciples and likewise us as Christians today. The elements are representation of every day food and drink we consume. We do so several times a day in most cases.
It is right and good that we practice the sacrament of Holy Communion. It is good that we set apart a specific day when we as the body of Christ practice this sacrament with as many of our fellow believers as we can. But this was not the core message of the Last Supper or Holy Communion.
When you eat the bread and drink the cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again.
1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIRV)
Let me provide another view of the Lords Supper from Luke Jesus says
"This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
Luke 22:19 (NIV)
“While they were eating”…. Remember me. Yes when we take communion – Remember Me…. But when we rise in the morning and break bread and drink our coffee remember Christ’s body broken for us, his blood shed to atone our sins. Lunch time when we take a break in the daily schedule – Remember Me! The evening meal as we dine and reflect on the day behind us – Remember Me. When we grab a snack as we sit down to watch the news or to relax before bed – Jesus wants us to by the consumption of that food and the drinking of those beverages ALWAYS we are ‘announcing’ (recognizing, remembering) Jesus sacrifice for us.
So by all means enjoy the sacrament of Holy Communion this Sunday and any time your church practices it but remember every time you eat or drink that same sacrifice we remember in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Doing so helps us to center God in our lives to be more like Christ and to better serve the Lord to all around us in our homes, work, community, and families.