My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is the rite of communion.
I’m overly traditional when it comes to communion, or “the Lord’s Supper” as we Baptists like to call it. There are all kinds of disputes and disagreements about how it’s to be done, who administers it, do you use wine or grape juice, single serve cups or all drink from the same goblet, is the bread an unsalted cracker or should it be true unleavened bread, do you dip the bread in the cup or take the bread and the cup separately, and so on and so forth. The number of ways it can be done are seemingly endless.
For me, I’m OK with how we do it — small bites of crackers with single-serve plastic cups of Welch’s grape juice. And if you or your church decides to do it differently, I’m OK with that too. Because for me, it’s not about what you consume, per se, as what’s going on in your heart. One purpose of communion is obedience. Jesus did it as an example to us and he said we should do it also, so we do. And when we do it he told us we are to remember him and his sacrifice, remember his body that was broken and his blood that bled, for us. That’s the point, and there are any number of ways that end can be accomplished. Can you do that tearing pieces off of a loaf of bread and dipping them in wine? Sure. Can I do that eating little crackers and drinking grape juice? Yes. You can also do either of these options (and any of the others) and not have it be about your heart.
The significance is not in the food or the drink but the symbolism. If you accomplish those purposes with wine and bread, great. If I accomplish those purposes with crackers and grape juice, great also. Because when I take communion I’m not focusing on what I’m eating. If it’s all about that then it’s about the wrong thing. When I take communion, I focus on sacrifice and love and how undeserving I am of all he did for me. In the quiet moments at our communion services I “commune” with him about my sin, his sacrifice, our relationship, our love for each other. I think that’s what he wanted. It’s probably heartbreaking to him that we’ve turned into a legalistic issue and fret more over the “rules” than the intended communion with him. It’s heartbreaking to me that I’ve been guilty of that, of debating how it should be done instead of rejoicing that a brother or sister is doing it.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-29