Jesus gives his disciples the sacred act of Communion. A gift that the Church has taken seriously and has even called Holy. For most of the last 2000 years and most Christians worldwide, Holy Communion has been not just a small part of worship but the very center of worship. Communion is a sacrament of the Church that allows us not only to remember Jesus but to experience his mercy, grace, and love.
This Sunday, as we participate in World Communion Sunday, experience a sacred gift, giving time and attention to all, it means to us. Today I want to draw your attention to four of the many significant aspects of Communion.
REMEMBRANCE: In Luke 22:19-20, we are told by Jesus that we are to take the bread and cup in remembrance of Jesus. Each time we receive Holy Communion, we tell the story of Jesus' sacrifice and remember it together as a church. Sometimes we do that through the liturgy and sometimes by the pastor simply telling the story.
EXAMINE: Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:28, "Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup." Communion is a time to pause and examine ourselves, think about all the good the Lord has done in our lives, and what areas of our lives continue to need the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Because of the Bible's instructions, we are intentional during the communion service to pause for a time of confessional prayer as preparation for the Lord's gift (Matthew 26:28).
PARTICIPATE: Paul also reminds us that Holy Communion is more than just a remembrance but an opportunity to participate in the work and body of Christ. He writes in 1 Corinthians 10:16, "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?"
TOGETHER AS ONE: Paul also reminds us that by receiving Holy Communion, we are coming together with all our other fellow believers as the body of Christ. Communion is not a solo act according to scripture but a central act for the community of believers. We are reminded of this in 1 Corinthians 10:17, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread."
This Sunday, as we come together and receive Holy Communion, may we take the time to appreciate the significance of the gift Jesus has given us and all it means.