And it came about that when Christ had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.

Luke 24: 30, 31

This is an amazing scene where Jesus has joined with His followers after they saw Him crucifiedand buried, and He has walked with a couple of them while teaching them. Now, Christ has joined them for an eveningmeal. Still they don’t realize who they are with. Although I don’t believe that anything actually happens to the bread or the wine that we use in our memorial celebrations of Jesus’ sacrificial offering of Himself, there should be something rather mystical about it. Whenever we participate in this event that many in the church call Communion, the Holy Spirit is present with and among us, and we should be taking the time and opening our hearts to reflect on who Christ is and on what He means to me at this time.

Like the bread and the wine, Christ sustains my body and He satisfies my thirst. He does this by providing the most basic of things that I need and by inviting me to join Him in the daily banquet feast of His Spirit. His Word shows me who He is and how that has been true from the beginning of time, and Christ shows me who I truly am and what that reality means. He opens my heart to the love that He has for me, and Christ breaks down my defenses and takes away my fears so that I can open my arms in love to embrace the people that are in my world. The Lord continually reminds me of the person that I have become due to the redemptive work of His grace and the transformativework of His Spirit. This new person is free to celebrate Christ’s victory over sin with all who would join in and worship the God who saves.

As I taste this simple bread and pour the contents of the cup into my mouth, there is truly something wonderful happening, for this is a time when Christ’s presence is profound. He is at the center of the room and in the depths of my heart. So, the Lord speaks the healing breath of His peace, joy, and understanding into me. Christ tells me to open my eyes and see, and He says to open my ears and hear; for, He is always with me to fill me with everything that I need and to sustain my soul throughout the day. Thus, with eyes open and Christ fully present with me, He leads forth into the day ahead, and I am strengthened and encouraged to seek out the Lord’s will and to confidently live it out. 

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

1 Corinthians 10: 16, 17

 

Regardless of how you might view the actual elements of the sacrament that is often known as communion, there is one singular truth about this aspect of the Christian life. Sharing in this activity should be a point of deep connection with Christ, and it should also be a time when His body is brought closer together across the totality of its spectrum of existence and expression. When we drink from the cup and eat the bread, we are doing something that is far greater than just consuming a bit of food. In fact, the food that we do consume at these times has absolutely nothing to do with feeding the body, for it is fully focused upon feeding the soul.

 

This moment in the flow of the liturgy of our worship can be the most unifying one in all that we do, for this is the singular time when all of the people gathered together focus upon one aspect of our faith together. When we eat the bread that is presented to us, we are called into the fullness of the new spiritually-bound body of faith that is formed around the presence of Christ in us and within our assemblies. As we take in the contents of the cup we are taken back into God’s promise of redemption and then into the fulfillment of that promise in Jesus. In sharing the blessings of the harvest together we are reminded of the unceasing provision that God has granted to us. As we do this we are also taken back into the ancient tradition of thanksgiving to God that was practiced by our Jewish forebears, for in Christ, we find our commonality with all of God’s people over the entirety of history.

 

The communion table, in its many forms and modalities of practice, is a place where people who know Christ can come together. It should never be a place of division or create a sort of litmus test of true faith or orthodoxy. If a person knows Christ, that person is an equal and a coheir in the eyes of God; so, nothing that is devised by human thought or rule should work to separate us from each other around this table of blessing. Christ came into this world to bring the many who were far apart from God into His presence in this life and into eternity. In so doing, He also destroyed all of the barriers that people had constructed that keep us apart from each other. Let us enter in together into the sacred act of remembrance that is found in taking in these simple foods so that our souls will be well fed on the beautiful diversity of Christ’s body and our minds will be strengthened in the unity of His Spirit.