Skip to main content

Common or Communion?

I can’t help but wonder if we have made a bigger deal out of communion then Jesus intended for it. 

I get the impression that communion is a sacred time for most people who attend Parkside. And that is wonderful. Nothing wrong with it. Unless…communion itself becomes the object of holiness and not the one it represents; or if the time spent reflecting is too holy to interrupt, yet our personal time with Jesus daily we allow our iPhones to disrupt. I fear that we place too high a level of importance on a little piece of bread and a little cup of juice. There is nothing magical about Sunday morning communion. When compared to the other 21 (or more) meals we have throughout the week, I believe it should be treated equally as significant. Every time we have community (communion) with other Christ-followers, we should thank God for the gift of Jesus and use that time to realign ourselves with His purpose for our lives.

Now, how do we teach children (and adults) that? I don’t know. Especially when TV dinners are a thing, or families who don’t sit down and eat at the same time. How do we make Christian fellowship the focus of a meal and Jesus’ teaching the main dish? Is it impossible? I hope not.

My personal view is that communion on a Sunday morning is not important. There, I said it. I believe that meal times during small group is more likely what Jesus had in mind when he initiated the Lord’s supper (note: supper, not snack). I think it is tremendously important that we remember Jesus’ sacrifice whenever we get together, but I don’t think that communion accomplishes that remembrance.

If I had my druthers, I would not serve communion on Sunday mornings. Instead, I would encourage people to grab a bite to eat afterwards and make sure that Jesus is the central topic of their conversations, and that they rejoice in the freedom that His grace provides. That would be my ideal communion.


**Edit**
Perhaps this is overstating my true intentions. I do not feel that we should overlook communion, since Jesus did say "do this in remembrance of me." But perhaps what I am saying is that we are only capturing a shadow of what Jesus intended for us to remember, and we are making a really big deal of that shadow. 

In exchanging some thoughts about this with my dad:
Jesus said "do THIS in remembrance." What are we to do? That night would any of the apostles have imagined that the little ritual snack we have in the middle of a mostly-passive worship service was in any way related to the new layer of meaning our Lord attached to the Passover Seder meal? No, they would have imagined a common meal in a home.

And when Jesus said "in REMEMBRANCE," did He mean for us to sit silently and "remember" Him? A better translation and interpretation of the phrase "in remembrance of" would be "reenact" or "recreate." The Hebrew language is very concrete, and any time that Israel was told to do something, it was never to "sit and reflect," but to act and re-present. To "Re-Member" is to put back together; to reconstruct. So, what is it that we are re-membering? We are proclaiming by reenacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and our connection by faith to apply that atoning sacrifice to ourselves.

OurSELVES. Which leads me to note: "ourselves" as a body, not "myself" as an individual. That's why we call it "communion," because it is part of our collective celebration of our "common unity"!
Put it all together, and I think we are doing a good thing when we celebrate the Lord's Supper. But we are only capturing a very small part of what should be a profound action that grows in meaning and insight each time we eat and drink.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Protesting ChristMass

During a meeting with several other Cincinnati area worship ministers last week we got to talking shop about Christmas/Christmas Eve services; who was doing them, who was not, how many and what time. I was intrigued (neither positive nor adverse reaction) to find that roughly a third of the churches represented were not having any kind of Christmas Day services, even though Christmas morning is a Sunday this year. Yet there was one leader (Reggie) who said that their church has a Christmas morning worship service every year regardless of whether it falls on a Sunday.

Initially this shocked me. How could this be? Why would this be? Why have a church service every Christmas? Why not stay home and eat cinnamon rolls and open presents like the rest of America? Reggie said many of the people who expect this from his congregation are not native North Americans. Initially Reggie was against the idea, but once he realized how many people from his congregation wanted to have a Christmas mornin…

Casting A Conscientious Vote

Here's the thing America: you nominated two terrible representatives for public office--one "Republican" and one Democrat. Both of their campaign managers have decided that the strongest approach to get elected is to basically claim "at least I'm not them." Both parties have released ad campaigns to bash the other candidate and both, I might argue, do so quite effectively.

Now that I have successfully been persuaded that I should vote for neither candidate (thanks to the other candidate), I am left wondering who there is left to vote for. Certainly there is some candidate who is both qualified as a politician and as a person of reasonable morals??

Enter the 3rd party system.
America was founded against a national party system (you can read about that here for an enlightening time). And yet it is this national party system that has allowed a Democratic convert like Donald Trump to represent the Republican party. Trump knew that the only way to have a shot at…

The Home School Game

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Our family has started a tradition of celebrating this day by opening gifts from our stockings on this day and remembering the historical figure of Nicholas, who was a humble and generous person. It is a wonderful compromise for our family backgrounds to both celebrate Santa Claus and at the same time keep Christ-mas about Christ. It has become a tradition I look forward to every year.

This year, we decided to add an element of teaching our children to be generous by choosing toys they want to give away to other girls and boys who are less fortunate than our children. Katie lined up two dozen toys they had not been playing with for some time now and laid them all out on a table. One by one, our kids examined the toys on the table and were instructed to pick out onetoy they wanted to keep for themselves. After each kid had picked out a toy to keep, they were told to go back through the toys and pick another toy they wanted to give away. It was heart-…