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What about Holy Communion?

What is Holy Communion?

In some churches Holy Communion is called the Mass or the Eucharist. Other names for this ordinance are 'The Lord's Supper', 'The Lord's Table', 'Breaking Bread'.

The word 'communion' means sharing, just like 'fellowship'. But the word 'communion' means an intimate sharing of one person to another. It's a time of intimacy with Jesus and the members of his church.

 

First, The Passover...

Jesus shared the first Communion with his disciples when he met with them to share the Jewish Passover meal (Mark 14:1,12-26). The Passover was celebrated by the Jews in the second week of the Jewish New Year. It was a time of rededication, of family reunion, of thanksgiving and rejoicing, in remembrance of the time when God delivered the Jews out of Egypt.

 

...Now, Holy Communion

Knowing the significance of the Passover Meal, Jesus took it and changed it into the Holy Communion so that, every time we participate, we remember what Jesus has done for us. Therefore, just like the Passover, the Holy Communion is a time of rededication, of church family reunion, of thanksgiving and rejoicing in remembrance of our deliverance through Jesus from sin and death.

In 1Corinthians 11:23-32, Paul gives us a good idea as to what Communion is all about. We quote some of these verses below. In them St. Paul outlines what took place when Jesus first shared this time of Communion with his disciples as part of their Passover meal (see also 1Corinthians 10:16-17), and he sets the scene for us by repeating what Jesus said to his disciples at the time:

When Jesus took the bread he said: "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me",

When Jesus took the wine he said: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

Here are four 'R's to help us remember what we are doing when we take the bread and wine we are:

1: Remembering

When we take the bread and wine we are remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross.

See 1Corinthians 11:24-25: and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

2: Recognising

We are also recognising afresh that God's New Covenant promises, sealed with the blood of Jesus, can never be broken.

See 1Corinthians 11:25: In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

3: Responding

Holy Communion is also a time for fellowship with each other, responding to one another as the family of God, sharing together as the Body of Christ.

See 1Corinthians 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.

In responding to each other there is a need to be right with each other through building and keeping good relationships.

See 1Corinthians 11:27-30: Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

4: Rejoicing

Finally, we are rejoicing in the proclamation of eternal salvation, of which the bread and wine are testimony till Jesus comes again.

See 1Corinthians 11:26: For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

 

Take it seriously

Because the Communion is a reminder of all that Jesus did for us when he died on the cross, we need to approach it seriously. Not doing this makes a mockery of what Jesus has done for us (see 1Corinthians 11:29). This doesn't mean, however, that we treat it like a funeral. Nor does it mean that we don't take part because we think we're not good enough. We never will be good enough but we can, before we participate, make sure we are right with God and each other. This means we are to repent and ask God to forgive us for any known wrong we have done. When we do this the Bible says: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:8-9).

We can always enjoy Holy Communion when we are prepared to come to God in repentance and humility.

 

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