Putting GRACE back in Communion

What is the first thought that comes to mind when we think of “Communion”? Is it an event that we attend where bread and wine is served? Is it a set part of our church’s order of worship? Remember, the question was “What is the first thought that comes to mind…”

Nowhere in the entire Bible does it say that we need to “participate in communion” or “take communion” or “attend communion” or “hold communion”. Let that sink in for a bit.

The following verse in the King James Version is closest that the Bible comes to saying this:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? (1 Cor 10:16 KJV)

All the other translations say that we Share in/Participate of/Partake of/Fellowship with the blood and body of Christ. All these words can be used interchangeably with “communion”. So to have communion of the blood and the body means to literally partake of/share/participate in it. It’s not something we can “take” or “hold”.

Just to illustrate the point, let’s replace “communion” with “partake” and use it like most Christians would use it in a sentence today:

“John, are we going to attend the partake service tonight?”

“When was the last time you took partake”?

“We are having partake tonight, you wanna join us?”

“The church up the road is holding partake next Sunday, I think we should go check out how they do it.”

In the first century the Christians ate together every day and while they were breaking the bread and drinking wine (which formed a natural part of their diet), they remembered/discerned the body and blood of Christ. This is what it means to eat the bread and drink the cup in a worthy manner and to experience the benefits of what Christ accomplished for us, which includes walking in full, divine health.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. (1 Cor 11:27-30 ESV)

For centuries all across the world the wonderful privilege of partaking of the Lord’s body and blood has been reduced to a ceremonial rite filled with fear, self-consciousness and religiosity, largely because of a misinterpretation of the above verses. So what then does it mean to eat and drink in an unworthy manner and bring damnation or judgment upon oneself? Well, the answer is found in the very same verse: “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

It simply means to not discern the Lord’s body while eating the bread, resulting in us not walking in fullness of health and possibly dying prematurely, which is what happened with some people in Corinth. Jesus didn’t simply purchase our salvation at the cross, he also purchased our healing. In fact, the same Greek word (sōzō) is used interchangeably in the Bible to talk about being healed and being saved.

It’s God’s will for all His children to live a long, healthy life, but we have an enemy who is constantly on the prowl to bring condemnation, damnation, judgment and destruction on us. So when we are troubled with sickness the bread serves to help us remember how the body of Christ was broken for us to purchase our healing (so that our bodies don’t have to be broken/sick) and how we can receive the healing and health which has already been freely given to us. The power does not lie in the bread and wine itself – they are merely symbolic. They are purely a tool to direct our minds to the power of the real substance of the body and the blood of Christ Himself. This is also the reason why it’s good to break bread every day, because in doing this we are reminded daily of how divine health was purchased for us. By meditating on this compelling truth we are empowered to start walking in its reality in greater and greater degrees.

So why bother to get the terminology right? Simple: by using the word “communion” incorrectly (saying that we can hold or have “it”) we reinforce the notion that it’s an event or an object, some kind of special occasion that we get to indulge in from time to time. The modern day church has even thought up a name for this type of religious rite: It’s called a “sacrament”, meaning that in certain denominations only members of the clergy (ordained church leadership) are allowed to serve the bread and the wine. “Normal believers” are not allowed to defile the table by touching the bread or the wine before it is handed to them by a deacon or an elder.

But when we use the word correctly (saying that we have communion WITH/partake OF the blood and the body of Christ) it brings about an entirely new mindset, in that it serves to remind us of our existing unity with God. It’s a quality/trait/attribute that every Christian possesses. So whenever we eat the bread and drink the blood we are reminded of this unity, which stirs our faith and allows us to receive from God that which is already ours.

6 Comments

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  1. Ian

    I appreciate the discussion. I think that it’s good for us to “move with the times”, but we should not let our culture influence us to the point where we start interpreting our traditions back into Scripture. Scripture must first and foremost speak for itself.

    Just because something started 100’s of years ago doesn’t make it right. TRADITIONS are what nullifies the word of God, however old they may be.

    Blessings!
    Andre

  2. What about telling people that it is time for tithe and offering? do you hold on to this or is it on the cross?

  3. ANDRE THIS IS REALLY THE TRUTH .BUT I WISH IT WILL PERMEATE INTO OUR CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY ESPECIALLY THE CATHOLIC AND THE EASTERN CHURCHES IN INDIA
    LOVE AND PRAYERS
    EAPEN MOHAN
    VADODRA,
    GUJARAT
    INDIA

  4. ‘The modern day church has even thought up a name for this type of religious rite: It’s called a “sacrament”, meaning that in certain denominations only members of the clergy (ordained church leadership) are allowed to serve the bread and the wine.’

    Other errors occur in this post but I couldn’t let this one pass. You say, ‘The modern day church’ has created the word ‘sacrament’ in speaking about the elements used in the Communion (The Lord’s Supper). This is disingenuous of you because you would know that the use of this word sacrament goes back 100s of years. In Anglicanism, it goes back to at least AD1548, the first Prayer Book. But of course, the term was used well before the break between the Church in England and Rome. Hence, it is not ‘The modern day church’ as you state that thought up the name. In fact, it is more accurate to say that the modern church uses the word ‘ordinance’ for the Supper or Communion because of the Romish excesses of the Oxford Movement in the 19thC.

    You also seem also to be stuck on the idea that Communion can only have one meaning, the meaning you given the word in this article. Why not realise with the passage of time that words develop their meanings and become used in more broad ways? (Some indeed become narrower in meaning from their first usage denotation.)

  5. Amen André I am becoming more persuaded that most if not all our “issues” simply come from our wrong definition of simple biblical truths. All of which are cleared up with a simple communication of love that exists in our union and relationship with Him. ~ But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2Co 11:3)

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