The Community in Communion

What do you think about when you take the Lord’s Supper? I don’t know about you, but my mind can focus on a myriad of things based on how I feel that day. They are all part of what we would call “Lord’s Supper” related, but I really enjoy hearing what other people think about as well. I want to soak up every bit of Jesus that I can – and His death, burial and resurrection are central.

So, before I get started on the point of this blog post, I would like to share with you some of the things I think about.

Most often, I think about Jesus and his impact on me. Specifically, I tend to think about his death and what that means for me: He died as a sacrifice for my sins and he willingly submitted to being tortured to death so I could live with him forever. I also think of what it would have been like if I had been dead and buried for three days, or I think about how I would have reacted to seeing the empty tomb on that Sunday morning, or how I wish I could have witnessed him rising to Heaven on the clouds. I wonder what it must have been like to see Jesus performing a miracle or speaking a parable or confusing people by loving the outcasts of society.

But, all of those things have something in common. These tend to be scenes we think about when we focus on Jesus as our “personal” savior.

As an American I find it difficult to see myself as anything more than a “person” or an individual. I am the product of my own self-determination. That’s just part of our culture. But as a follower of Jesus, I also need to see myself as a part of the flock – not just a single sheep. And communion is supposed to remind us of that: the Lord’s Supper is not just vertical in nature – it is also horizontal. Jesus is more than our “personal” savior. Jesus is also our “community” savior.

There are a few phrases the Bible uses when referring to who Jesus died for: his flock (John 10:11-18), the children of God (John 11:49-53), his friends(1 John 3:16), the church of God (Acts 20:28), his bride (Eph 5:25-27) and his body (Col 1:18-22). I think it is interesting to note the corporate nature of those phrases.

And so, it makes sense in 1 Cor 10:17 when the Apostle Paul says, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” Paul even says in Ephesians 2:13-16 that Jesus died in order to unify Jews and Gentiles as “one new man in place of the two.”

So, while we partake of the Lord’s Supper, remember that it isn’t just you, or your church family, or people in your city, state or the country where you live who are partaking. We, as followers of Jesus, are taking the Lord’s Supper – as a community – with people all over the world.

Somewhere there is a small group of men and women huddled together in a tiny room who are risking their lives by taking the Lord’s Supper. Somewhere there is a gathering of people who are taking the Lord’s Supper in a hut with a dirt floor. Somewhere there is a church who meets outside in the elements while they eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus. Somewhere a person just devoted their life to Christ, and the first thing they want to do is take the Lord’s Supper. And somewhere, someone realizes they don’t have much time left in this world, and the last thing they want to do before they die – is take the Lord’s Supper.

My friends, they are desperately wanting communion not only with Jesus – but with us as well. Don’t deny them that honor as we approach our Father as a family, and consume these elements while remembering Jesus together.

Holy Father, the sacrifice of Jesus has made us your children. We are brothers and sisters who love one another with a bond only siblings can have. Although we may not be in the same room as a family together, we ask you to unite us as we take the Lord’s Supper. Bring to our mind the common joy we have because of your grace. Help us to remember the body and blood of Jesus as He gave Himself for our sins. It’s in His name we pray – amen.

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