Communion; January 22, 2022

1 Cor 10:16-17 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? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

This is a passage that isn’t covered very often in very many churches! It actually is justification for calling the celebration in question “Communion,” rather than “The Lord’s Supper.” I don’t think it goes so far as to justify the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which says that the bread and wine are literally transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus, but it does argue against the currently common practice of having completely separate, sealed packets of a bit of bread and a little grape juice. I understand the hygienic reasons for avoiding the common loaf and particularly the common cup, but I think we miss something in the process. The bread and drink are symbols, yes, but we need to have a deeper grasp of that symbolism. In particular, I think we need to appropriate the unity mentioned here. There is only one Savior and Lord, yet we fracture His Body, the Church, using all sorts of excuses. Communion should be a powerful symbol of a unity that is then lived out in countless ways. Unity doesn’t mean uniformity, but it is the antithesis of division.

In this church we are blessed to be few enough in numbers that, though we use separate little cups for the grape juice, we use a common “loaf” of unleavened bread that Cathy bakes for each occasion. Since we celebrate Communion every 4th Sunday, we will be doing so tomorrow. I think I should bring this passage out as we do so. We decided years ago to stick with grape juice rather than wine, not just because of members who were minors but because we had a recovering alcoholic in the church, and knew that it would certainly be less than kind to him to use wine. Raised in a Southern Baptist framework, I was taught that The Lord’s Supper was strictly symbolic, as was baptism, but my view has shifted over the years. I feel there is spiritual significance and power in those physical actions, and we take them lightly to our great loss. I don’t want to deprive the believers here of any of the blessings God has for them by my theological interpretations. I actually celebrate Communion by myself every morning as the first step in my devotions, using left-over bread from the congregational celebration and, most often, iced tea. When I’m on a trip, I use whatever is available, and over the years that has included a wide variety of bread/crackers/etc. and drinks. Without exception, though, as I take the “bread” I thank Jesus for giving His body for me and renew the commitment of my body to Him, and as I take the first sip of the drink I ask for a fresh infilling/immersion in His blood. I feel that has been very valuable in keeping me faithful to Him, because the temptations and deceptions are unrelenting.

Father, thank You for sending Your Son. Lord Jesus, thank You for coming, and for giving Your body and blood for our salvation. Help me walk in, and communicate, that incredible truth, so that all the schemes of the devil may be defeated and Your rule and reign be established, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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