This is the fifth post in a bi-weekly five part series. It is inspired by the book of 1 Corinthians and my studies of that book. Posts will have appeared here and on A Deeper Church. Read the previous posts in the series:
They learned first the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine in Paul’s eighteen months with them. It was a symbol, a reminder, a representation of the Truth they had come to believe. It was entering into not just union with their Savior, but communion. A meeting. A joining together. The Spirit, the Son, and the Father reaching out to one another as hands reached out for bread and goblet.
And though bread and wine were staples in their homes, they did not mean the same when digested and imbibed alone, apart from one another. Bread and wine commingled and traveled down the esophagus, melding together in the stomach. But there was no communion. It was just a meal. But together, in those early days, together it was the Body of Christ come alive in their midst. As the Spirit of God indwelt each of them individually, the Spirit reached out to itself from with each of them. Communing with itself as they communed with one another.
At that table, with bread and wine and a God who had saved them, who was saving them, who would save them still, they entered into communion. Yes, through the sharing of bread and wine because his body was broken and his blood was shed. And they entered into communion because they were community. They were the Body he left on earth to point others to the body that hung on a cross. To the body that death could not hold. To the body that destroyed death forever for all who would believe and put their faith in him.
And so they communed.
But when bread and wine become food and drink, and tallies are kept of who brought what and if they brought the best wine and the tastiest bread, or simply what they could afford, communion withers and the table becomes a place of judgment. When bread and wine and body broke and blood shed become tools for division, there is no communion.
As we read that they sat and ate and drank, not sharing but withholding, not in communion but in disunion, dividing, not abiding, I cannot help but think of our own communion tables. Of goblets and loaves, of plastic cups in gilded trays and paper-like wafers that stick to tongues as words of reminder, words of communion, words of body broken and blood shed are poured out over us, calling us together. Do you feel it? Can you hear it? That longing of the Spirit within you crying out for Itself, crying out to Itself through walls we have erected to keep us from those who do not commune as we do? Or simply the longing to commune beside another body as we the Body take and break and eat and drink as individuals?
Spirit cries out to Spirit as we attempt to commune with the Savior alone.
But we were never meant to commune alone. Unity with one’s self is simply an individual. One. One person. Alone.
But if we are to be like him, to commune with him, then we must commune with each other. We must be united with him, in him, and with one another.
Because his body was broken, yes. His body was broken so that this body of broken sinners turned redeemed saints might never have to experience that breaking.
Let us break bread and drink wine.
Let it remind us of the breaking of his body so that this Body might never be broken.
How does your church take communion?
Do you take communion alone or with others?
How do you practice communion with the Body?