If you think about it, we do some pretty peculiar things as Christians. Our practices, liturgy and observances can appear a little odd to the non-insider. Do you remember the very first time you saw the Lord’s Supper (Communion) observed in a church service? In our tradition, we have shiny containers we pass around. One holds tiny disposable cups with a small amount of grape juice. The other holds tiny quarter inch bread wafers. The bread goes first and the juice follows. The leader speaks about the body and blood of Christ. We all eat together and we all drink together. Then we pray, sing and depart. You must admit from a novice’s perspective it might appear unusual.
I’m aware there are people in the services each month who encounter the Lord’s Supper for the first time. I’m certain there are others who’ve observed it numerous times and yet the meaning still eludes them.
Did you know Jesus established the supper and that it is held in His honor while remembering Him? The participants are Christ followers. Jesus used the bread to signify His body. He used fruit of the vine to represent His blood. Both the bread and fruit of the vine are symbolic in my tradition rather than sacramental (imparting grace). The elements don’t become the actual body and blood. Neither do we adhere to a belief of Christ’s presence “in, with, and under” the elements. In our particular congregation, we offer the Lord’s Supper typically once a month.
When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim His death – it is a witness of the work of Christ. The bread and the fruit of the vine serve as object lessons of Christ’s sacrifice. His body and blood given and shed for us. We are reminded of the substitutionary death of Christ. As we participate, we’re reminded to look forward to His return. This ordinance is to be observed until He comes again. The Lord’s Supper is the message of hope. The Supper undergirds the significance of community. It should be a binding and unifying experience – we’re one in Christ and fellowship.
The Lord’s Supper reminds me of the work of Christ in my life. It’s personal to me; He died for me. I’m confident it’s personal to you too as He died for you. I can’t help but live again the moment I met Christ as a high school student. I’m reminded of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and God’s generosity. He saved me; He forgave me. I am grateful, thankful, and a bit overwhelmed at God’s provision for me – Jesus.
As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper this weekend in all of our services, remember that Paul encouraged us to examine ourselves in preparation for the observance. Eat and drink in a worthy manner this weekend as you remember Christ’s sacrifice.