If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I spend a considerable amount of my time in church, talking about church, or thinking about ways to make church better. If you’re new here, let me introduce myself. I’m a church girl. Nice to meet you.
Before you run off, rest assured that I’m not a Bible-thumping proselyte. I’m probably just like you. I work every day and am just trying to raise my kids and pay my bills. I twerk in the mirror, (Y’all do that, too, right?) and every now and again I might sip wine that is not of the communion variety.
But this past Sunday morning, communion was the only thing on my mind, which is strange, because it was not first Sunday. I found myself engrossed in the gospel accounts of the Last Supper.
And a question burned itself into my brain: “What if we’re doing it wrong?” I’m not talking about the variances in how we partake. I don’t care if your church family literally breaks bread and you all dip it into the same cup or if you ordered those pre-packaged servings from the Christian book store.
My problem isn’t with how we take communion, but rather what communion is. What if it isn’t the eating and drinking the Lord wanted us to do in remembrance of Him?
Luke’s gospel is the one we are most familiar with. It’s the one the preacher quotes on First Sunday morning when he is serving the sacrament. Looking at Luke’s account, I wonder if possibly, the Lord wanted us to give our physical bodies in service to others. He literally says in this account: “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Mark’s account seems to focus on the fact that all the disciples drank from his cup. It reminds me of what Jesus said to the sons of thunder, after they had their mama ask for positions of favor in the kingdom, that they shall indeed “drink from the the same cup” as He did. What if the communion the Lord was speaking of was the fellowship of suffering? What if he really meant for us to live our lives together, even when, especially when, it hurts.
The focus in this account seemed to be the blood, but since I am a Baptist, one who studies both preachers, and preaching, and a writer, at that, I am urged to give you an alliterative point. So then Matthew’s gospel appears to focus on the sacrifice. He says, according to Matthew, that his blood was shed for many. He is the ultimate sacrifice. What if he was asking us to follow suit?
Service, Suffering, and Sacrifice. I believe that is the Christian life wrapped up in a nutshell. Now I am not suggesting you should forsake the practice of grape juice and unleavened bread. It certainly has its place. But I think the ideas of service, suffering and sacrifice ought to be considered as forms of communion. And perhaps we should consider trying to incorporate them all. You know like Jesus suggested to the scribes and the Pharisees.
“You should have done the latter, without neglecting the former.”
What if we are supposed to be doing with our lives what he did with the bread and the wine: Giving thanks for it breaking it, and giving it away.
Something to think about before communion Sunday rolls around.
Loving and Unapologetically