One of the greatest privileges of life as the Church is the practice of communion. As I’ve served in pastoral ministry, leading a congregation in communion is one of my most favorite expressions of worship.
Yes, I said worship. Communion is a valuable part of the corporate worship expression. Sure, you can do it alone, but so much is missed out on when it’s not done as a group.
In fact, communion is one of the few things that we are commanded to do together as a body. It’s what is known as a sacrament.
What we know as communion has been celebrated for centuries as the Eucharist, which incidentally means, “giving thanks,” another important aspect of worship. For a deeper exploration of the Eucharist, I direct you to an article written by Dan Wilt titled, An Explanation of the Eucharist (Communion).
There is so much that is a part of communion and the symbolism that is contained in the act of gathering together around the table. In his writings, worship scholar Robert Webber wrote extensively on communion as a response, especially in Worship Is a Verb (Amazon link). There can be a powerful moment that happens when we gather together to observe communion. My friend, Jim Drake, recently guest posted here as part of Journey of Worship Road Trip series about three experience of communion that have deeply marked his worship journey. If you haven’t yet, you might want to read The Cairn of Worship – Communion.
Unfortunately, in many cases communion has become a tired and predictable ritual instead of a vibrant expression of life in Christ. Whether this is because a heart isn’t prepared, we have forgotten what it represents, or the person leading has lost their own wonder at the mystery of Christ’s act on our behalf, it is a sad situation.
When communion becomes a ritual without meaning, we miss out on the opportunity to celebrate together the amazing expression of God’s love for us.
We miss remembering that Christ died in our place for our sin.
We forget about the foreshadowing of the great feast that is to come for all who have trusted in Christ’s sufficiency.
Communion is powerful as a leveling ground. All who have placed their life in Christ are welcome. No one is more deserving of participating than someone else. The ground around the table and the cross is wide open. There is nothing like it in our society or churches.
Its power is also seen in the fact that it is not only a time of celebrating and remembering, but also a time of being confronted with the stark reality of Christ’s sacrifice. His body broken for ours, and His blood poured out on our behalf. All so we could have a new relationship with God.
And, yes, there is a place for reverence within the act of communion. While being wonderful, it is also serious. But, again we cannot let reverence result in uninspiring boredom.
What’s communion like in your church? Is it a constantly fresh expression of remembering and worship? Or has it become stale and spiritually uninspiring?
The expression of communion is a powerful and wonderful privilege for any worshiping body. Come back tomorrow for a bunch of ideas of how to bring freshness to the observance of communion in your setting.
UPDATE: Or just click this link for 21 Ideas to Do Communion in a Different Way