Today’s verses surround the act of communion. In Luke 22:17-20 it says:
“Then he took a glass of wine, and when he had given thanks for it, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” Then he took a loaf of bread; and when he had thanked God for it, he broke it apart and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in remembrance of me.” After supper he gave them another glass of wine, saying, “This wine is the token of God’s new agreement to save you—an agreement sealed with the blood I shall pour out to purchase back your souls.” (The Living Bible)
I have always wondered about communion. Is it strictly the act of the ritual in church that we are supposed to do, to take a moment to remember the sacrifice that Christ has made? Could it be that He is telling us that as often as we gather together as Believers to have a meal together and speak of what the Lord is doing in our lives, that we are supposed to thank God and remember? Is this why we ask a blessing each time we eat?
I know that for our family, we do pray for each meal. We thank God for His blessings, and we always remember the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us. We know that without Him, we are nothing.
Yes, we also take communion in church, but I have wondered sometimes at the “how and when” communion is supposed to take place. Needless to say, this sent me digging through God’s Word to find some answers, and I think I have come up with my conclusion.
This first verse shows that communion is not just something you do in church. Acts 2:44-47 (TLB) says:
“And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other, selling their possessions and dividing with those in need. They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, praising God. The whole city was favorable to them, and each day God added to them all who were being saved.”
So, we know that not only did communion happen in church, but that they also met in small groups in their homes. They had fellowship. They had meals together. They spoke of the Lord. They shared their possessions with one another, and with those in need. They had communion to remember His sacrifice.
Taking part of communion also comes with a warning though, so make sure to take note of this. This is a bit long, but please read it as it is very important!
1 Corinthians 11:17-30 (TLB):
“Next on my list of items to write you about is something else I cannot agree with. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together for your communion services. Everyone keeps telling me about the arguing that goes on in these meetings, and the divisions developing among you, and I can just about believe it. But I suppose you feel this is necessary so that you who are always right will become known and recognized!
When you come together to eat, it isn’t the Lord’s Supper you are eating, but your own. For I am told that everyone hastily gobbles all the food he can without waiting to share with the others, so that one doesn’t get enough and goes hungry while another has too much to drink and gets drunk. What? Is this really true? Can’t you do your eating and drinking at home to avoid disgracing the church and shaming those who are poor and can bring no food? What am I supposed to say about these things? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly do not!
For this is what the Lord himself has said about his Table, and I have passed it on to you before: That on the night when Judas betrayed him, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks to God for it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new agreement between God and you that has been established and set in motion by my blood. Do this in remembrance of me whenever you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you are retelling the message of the Lord’s death, that he has died for you. Do this until he comes again.
So if anyone eats this bread and drinks from this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, he is guilty of sin against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why a man should examine himself carefully before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if he eats the bread and drinks from the cup unworthily, not thinking about the body of Christ and what it means, he is eating and drinking God’s judgment upon himself; for he is trifling with the death of Christ. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and some have even died.”
So in other words, if you have dissension, anger, hard feelings, or unforgiveness in your heart towards someone in the body of Christ, you should not take communion. You need to make your heart right before the Lord before participating in the act of communion, otherwise it says we shame the very act of Christ’s death. If you don’t, you can actually suffer the punishment of God. (sickness or even death!)
Now that’s something to keep in mind, eh?
I can honestly say that there have been times that I have had to sit back and think about whether I should take communion or not. I had to really search my heart to see if I had let go of some bitterness or hurt that I might be hanging onto before I participated in this Holy process. Be sure of where your heart is before taking communion, and truly remember the reason behind it.
To wrap this up, my take is this …
- Communion is a very holy process that should not be entered into lightly.
- It can be done anywhere, really. Church. Home. Small groups. It’s not the place that matters.
- It is not just asking a blessing over our food; communion is a specific act, done to remember Christ’s death and His sacrifice to take on our sin so that we can have eternal life.
- Communion is something we should really think of doing more often in our homes, or when we gather with other Believers. It shouldn’t be just a once-in-a-while thing.
What are your thoughts on communion? I would love to hear them!