'Connection Rather Than Ascent'
Tuesday, May, 8, 2018 | 1:28 PM | by Munholland
What is Holy Communion all about? Certainly, there are many aspects. It is the Great Thanksgiving that the ancients called 'Eucharist.' It is an affirmation of the great arch of salvation from Adam and Eve to Jesus who is the fulfillment of all those that have come before. Communion is also an invocation of the Holy Spirit to do fresh work among the faithful who gather together around the Table of Grace. However, there are words that we say every time Communion is served that we would do well to ponder and claim.
Part of the 'words of institution' that the pastor says as Communion is being prepared comes from Jesus' words at the last supper. 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' (Luke 22:19) Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record these words proclaimed at the Passover Meal they were eating. What does 'in remembrance of me' really mean? How does it relate to those of us who partake of communion some 2,000 years after the original supper?
While Communion is a mystery of which we will never plumb the depths, there are Biblical understandings which give us insight. First, remembrance has little to do with acknowledging that Jesus said this, or that; it is the institution of the New Covenant. Communion has always been about our hearts and spirits. To re-member means to join back together. It is to take the disparate parts of the body and make them one again. Communion is a reuniting of us with Jesus in a real and profound way. 'Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church.' (Col 1:17-18) Every time we are re-membered to Jesus and to one another as the body of Christ; it is the opportunity to be renewed and find power to live in Christ.
That we are united with Jesus in his death and resurrection is a profound mystery. We become dead to the destructive powers in the world, and are united in Jesus to do Kingdom work. Read Paul's understanding of our participation in Jesus' death and resurrection renewal: For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him ...that we should no longer be slaves to sin -because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Rom 6:5-8)
Communion is the opportunity to be connected with Christ and one another in a profound way. We are re-membered to the One who is the head of the church, and re-membered to one another as the community of the faithful who have come to the table. It encompasses the first disciples and all those who have come after them throughout time and around the world. Great is the communion of the saints in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Seeking Life that is Truly Life,