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.

 

 

There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4: 4-6

 

The church that I attend doesn’t look like the church that many others attend. The buildings are different and the way that we worship is too. The body of Christ speaks many languages as it also enfolds any and all races and nations of people. I believe that this rich diversity is a reflection of the great creativity of God. Yet, the many things that set us apart should not be allowed to divide us; however, sadly, they do.

 

Too often people make church affiliation into something that defines us. So it becomes an issue for pride and a reason to view ourselves as superior to those who don’t share our particular affinity. We define non-essential ideas of man as absolute divine revelation and make them into sifting points for determining true belief or faith and for separating from those who don’t share that understanding of God’s word. These are just some examples of the many ways that people seek to emphasis our differences and that we focus on our distinctives as a means to proclaiming ourselves as “true believers”.

 

This manner of thinking and acting misses the essential point. All that God ordains is from Him, under His authority, and ruled by His will. There is nothing that people can think or do as it relates to our faith in God and our worship of Him that can have its origin in any source other than God Himself. We should hold no pride in a particular church, no ownership of a form or style of worship, and no superiority that comes from a specific set of doctrines or beliefs. In order to live in this reality of what is truly church, that is, what constitutes the body of Christ; we need to be humbly yielded to God and submissive to His authority and to His Word. From this perspective we can delight in the many ways that God is active in our world, and we can rejoice together with the multitudes of brothers and sisters who are filled with the same Spirit of Christ that sets the rhythm for our heart’s beating.