[Editor’s Note: Some of us call this Communion, others of us call it the Sacrament, but this post and the practice hold great meaning for all of us.]
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father,
and you are in me, and I am in you” – John 14 v 20
I’ve always loved communion. There’s always been a sense of coming home when I consider the bread and wine, partaking in the ritual first practiced by Jesus with the disciples, taking on the body and blood of Christ. It is, for me, a re-membering of myself to the body of Christ. A reminder of the commitment I made to follow Him.
But recently it’s taken on more meaning for me. And here’s why.
In the past when I’ve taken communion it’s been simply about my own relationship with the divine. It’s about me doing business with God. And it does symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus and us becoming one with Him in and He with us.
And this is a beautiful thing. Communion must and always should be done with a sense of reverence, wonder and awe, for what this body and blood means, and the sacrifice which it symbolizes – and what that means for us. It’s a chance to re-examine ourselves, to see where we need to grow, what God is doing in us, where we can be transformed – what needs to die in us, so something new can be birthed.
And this is hugely important. It’s one reason I love communion so much.
But what I’ve realized is just as important, is remembering, with equal reverence and awe, to look outwards beyond ourselves. Jesus rose from the dead. 500 people witnessed to Him being risen. And they took this message out there to the world.
The body and blood were broken. But after an appropriate period of time, there was a new beginning – and a new life, to take out to the world.
When we take on the body and blood of Jesus, the story doesn’t end there. When we examine ourselves and see where we need to grow, the process doesn’t stop. In communion, Jesus becomes one with us, and us with Him, and the call is then to embody this good, and leave the safety of our churches and take this out into the world. God’s world. To embody the crucified and risen Saviour everywhere we go, knowing that wherever we go, whatever we do, we are one with Christ. In the small things and big things. At work, at home, with friends, doing the washing or shopping.
I know, it’s not quite that simple is it? I mean, sounds good, but does any of us nail this? Of course not. Life is difficult. It’s tiring. It’s sweaty. It’s frustrating.
I mean, honestly, which of us really gets this ‘Christian’ thing down all the time? So, how do we do this?
It’s simple. Own who we are. It’s enough to just be honest that we’re all a work in process. We don’t have to have it nailed to love others. We can come alongside other people in process and just say: “I’m here, I love you, you’re not alone, let’s do this together”.
Communion confronts us with the truth we’re all in process. With the stark reality that we’re all still figuring this out. But it says that even in the midst of this, we’re one with Christ, and we can still, in our own small way, be people of love, justice, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, grace and joy.
And at once, it reminds us we are not alone, we are no longer separated from Christ, and Christ is no longer separated from creation. We’re imperfect, in process, but one with Jesus.
That’s the call of communion. To examine ourselves, and choose to go and be His witnesses in our own communities, trusting we’re one with God, and in the midst of our own messy transformation.
Insight and Inspiration
“I am with you every day, to the end of the age” – Matthew 28 v 20
“You will be my witnesses….to the ends of the earth” – Acts 1 v 8
When we take communion, or partake of the Sacrament next, let’s remember we’re not just going through a ritual at church. We’re re-examining ourselves again, we’re being challenged to grow and be transformed, we’re being reminded we’re all works in process. But challenged also, in the midst of that mess, to go out and take resurrection to the world, one with Christ. Challenged to be, even in small ways, witness to that wherever we are and whoever we’re with. Try it.