Communion again has risen in my thoughts. It was in a conversation about sacraments. This ritualisation of things we do each day as mature Christians, we break bread with our families, we thank the Lord for all he has done, in creating the opportunity for relationship with God that we had lost due to sin. The curtain in the Temple was torn in two, ripped asunder so that we could have direct relationship with God on a one-to-one basis.
Why then do we need to go to a church, once a day, once a week, once a month, once a year, on Christmas and Easter to receive Communion? If we are strong in our faith, if we are connected to God because we are “being” a child of God, why do we need to partake in a ritual that has hurt people in the past? In the “being” we are reading our Bibles, we are studying God’s word, we are meeting in fellowship, we are worshiping, we are praising, we are praying, we are a grateful people, a thank full people. A people on whom grace mercy and love have been exuberantly poured like the smashing of an alabaster urn of perfume we are soaked in grace, mercy and love.
So this communion thing? I have a friend who was messed up by a priest whilst she was a Eucharistic Minister, as a young adult. Another friend was systematically abused around the time of their Holy Communion and that messes up the whole communion thing for them. For these people and many more Communion does not communing with God.
When the pastor breaks the bread at the front of the church or meeting place and says the ancient words that Jesus said in the cenacle, when the bread is shared amongst the people there are invisible lines of connection drawn – from the pastor to the bread, from the bread to the people and between each person. We are connected to the bread, to Christ, to God and to each other. It is a corporate act that we engage in to come together in love, love for the Lord, for each other, for every one on the planet, Jesus was and is and will be the living bread.
Partaking in the Lord’s Supper is also a public declaration that your heart is soft, that you hold no grudges, there is no bitterness in your heart, no hardeness. I have chosen not to take part, sometimes it is because I have already taken communion earlier in the day, or I will be doing later in the day. Sometimes it is because I have been in a place of sin that I haven’t yet asked for forgiveness. Sometimes it is because I have been hurt and need to heal that wound quietly before it festers into an offence.
When you take part in communion are you doing it because the person next to you will see you? Or because of a deep conviction of connectedness? Sometimes a pastor will give time at the beginning of communion for people to reflect on what the ritual is about, a meditation with images depicting the undeserving love we have been given, some silence.
We are connected, connected by faith to one and another, connected by grace through faith to one another and to the Lord. A web of invisible threads encompassing the globe and directed toward heaven. A beautiful carcophany of threads, in our worship ascending.
Do we go through the motions of worship in order to impress other people? Or do we worship with our attention directed toward God? Do we focus on ourselves—either our successes or our sins—and forget to turn our gaze on Jesus? The Lord’s Supper is intended to help us lift our eyes to the Bread of Life who has invited us to participate in His body.