Can I tell you how I feel?
You have given us your Spirit
I love you so
com·mun·ion (k-mynyn) The act or an instance of sharing, as of thoughts or feelings. ETYMOLOGY: from Latin, mutual participation
Communion is a part of every Christian church. Jesus instituted what we now call communion the night before he was crucified. Holy Communion is a time when Christ followers reflect on what Jesus did for them.
I have taken the bread and the wine (or grape juice) in remembrance of Christ more times than I can count. And most every time, it is a very personal experience between me and God. Even though there may be hundreds of others taking communion around me, I have not thought of it as an act of sharing or mutual participation. My thoughts focus on the death of Jesus. His body: broken and beaten for me. His blood: poured out for me.
Recently, I participated in a communion celebration where God opened my eyes to a new perspective. My husband and I were seated in the front row where we were a bit in the way. It was this awkward position that allowed me to see what I have never seen before.
The words of Jesus in John 6 have intrigued me for some time. In verse 25, Jesus begins talking about the people doing his work. Many of his followers turned away at the thought of eating his flesh and drinking his blood as a requirement for doing his work. Jesus compares himself to the manna given to the Israelites, God’s chosen people, when they were in the desert.
The manna which God provided to the Jewish nation gave them life. Without it they would have starved to death. If you don’t know the details, read it. (see Exodus 16) It’s a great miracle and depiction of God as our perfect provider. Other nations recognized the Israelites because of God’s provision and protection.
At the recent communion celebration, I saw communion as an instance of sharing the experience. In this group, everyone in line places their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. After taking the bread and the juice, they turn to place their hands on the next few who take the bread and juice after them.
Do you see the picture yet? Christ died so that we would live in communion with each other and with him. He is the source of life and He is the common element that makes us a community. Yeah, yeah. That’s been head knowledge for me for years. But the reality of it has just sunk to my heart. And, wow, is it cool!
Jesus instructed his disciples to remember him whenever they ate the bread and drank the wine in this celebration. This was extremely significant to the Jewish nation. He was saying “I am the awaited Messiah.” He had come to his people.
God was with the Israelites in the desert when he gave them manna. But now, he is with us in a different way. Because of Jesus, God gives us an internal source of life. The manna in the desert was external. The cloud and pillar of fire were external ways that God provided life and guidance. Those external elements set the Israelites apart from other nations.
Communion is not about Christ dwelling just in me. Communion is a reminder that the Messiah has come and he offers himself to any who will take him.
Christ died for our sins. We are restored in relationship with God through his resurrection. Jesus ascended into heaven so that the Spirit which was his source of life – as blood is to the physical body – could be Life to those in the flesh who unite to be his flesh today.
Christ alone was the fullness of God. Without Christ, I am nothing. And without communion with other believers, it’s going to be very difficult for others to see the presence of God today.
We who believe are carefully joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.