‘…as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup…’ (1 Corinthians 11:26 ESV)
When we eat and drink at the Lord’s Table we are not just having another meal; rather we are engaging in a deep and meaningful activity that should enrich our relationship with God and our fellow believer, while re-vitalising our Christian walk.
It is a meal that is pregnant with spiritual insights:
Communion is a proclamation of our faith:
‘as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death…’ (v.26). You may not be a preacher by profession or calling, but when you take these emblems you are announcing that Jesus Christ died for humanity, forgiving their sins and reconciling them to God. You are proclaiming your personal faith in him as Saviour, not just to your fellow believer, but to the world at large.
Communion is an act of remembrance:
‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ (vv.24-25) As we take these elements we look back to Jesus’ death and it reminds us of just how much God loves us
(John 3:16) and how much he has given and will give us: ‘He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?’
Communion is an act of anticipation:
‘For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.’ (1 Corinthians 11:26) We do not merely look back to Jesus’ death and proclaim it; we also look forward to his coming again. Communion teaches us to live moment by moment in the consciousness that Jesus died for me in the past and is coming for me in the future.
Communion is an act of participation:
‘The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?’ (1 Corinthians 10:16) Jesus died as the Last Adam representing the whole of humanity.
When he died, we died with him
(Gal.2:20); when he rose, we rose with him
(1 Corinthians 15:22). We are participants in the drama of salvation.
Communion is an act of communion:
‘Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.’ (1 Corinthians 10:17) As we take communion together we demonstrate that, not only are we united to Christ, but we are united to one another. Christ has brought us together as one body to love one another as he loved us.
As often as we eat the bread and drink the cup with understanding we experience these things, and our lives should never be the same again.
Father, thank you for the beautiful sacrament of communion celebrating our salvation in Christ. Prepare my heart to take it meaningfully and to meet with you often.
Have a good week reflecting on these things.