Worldwide Communion was this past Sunday, and in keeping with it I shared these thoughts with my Adult Ed class at church…
What does communion mean to you? What do you think about when you’re taking it? Is it a time of reflection? of confession? of remembrance? of cleansing from sin?
All these things are worthwhile and I encourage you to continue doing them. Let me add two more thoughts that we in the Protestant tradition sometimes forget:
1) The elements of communion represent Jesus’ body and blood. When we take communion, symbolically we are not only remembering Him, we are taking Him into ourselves. This is a sacrament, which is defined as “an outward or physical sign of an inward or spiritual reality“. As Protestants we do not believe the elements actually physically change into real flesh and blood, but we do believe Jesus is present in a spiritual way.
2) We never take communion alone. This is the church’s teaching, and it is also symbolic. In communion we are to experience not only union with God, but also union with each other as well as His Spirit indwells each of us.
“…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” — words prayed by Jesus, John 17:21-23
This is the true meaning of worldwide communion. Today we remember and worship the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke:
“Who has believed our message?
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows,
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities,
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.”
— Isaiah 53:1, 4-5