This Sunday we will observe communion. At the end of our service, the pastors and deacons will stand before the congregation, we’ll give thanks for the bread, and then bread will be broken, distributed, and eaten together by the church. We will repeat the process for the cup.
Each week, we frame this event as a sacred time, as a “family matter,” given as a gift for the people of Jesus. But as with any rhythm of life, the sweetness of meaning can grow dull through routine repetition.
There is nothing special about the bread itself. Unlike the Roman Catholic understanding of holy communion, we in no way believe that the bread undergoes a mystical transformation to materially become the body of Christ. When Jesus says, “This is my body” (Matt. 26:26), He means it in a way analogous to what He means when He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn. 15:5). The same rings true for the cup, when Jesus declares, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).
But this does not mean that the bread and the cup are insignificant. It is precisely because Jesus bestows such meaning on the elements that we find them so precious. For in taking hold of the elements, we are acting out that which we have done through faith. When we hold the bread in our hands, we are taking hold of Jesus body, broken on the cross for our sake. When we take that tiny cup in our hands and stare into its rich reddish contents, we are taking hold of the blood which was shed to atone for our sins, and to forge an unbreakable covenant between us rebels, and the living God.
And in ingesting each, so imbued with Christ-given meaning, we take hold of the gospel message afresh: Jesus died for my sins. I believe.
Communion stands, therefore, as a precious space in our week, wherein we are able to align our hearts afresh to the glory and grace of the good news we believed, believe, and will hold to until we see Jesus face to face. But not merely in an internal, conceptual way. We preach the gospel to ourselves in a physical way, knowing that Christ Himself is present in and through His people, in this space.
So when you arrive this Sunday, come eager to “taste and see” the gospel afresh, to anchor your heart to the finished work of Christ, with great joy.