Communion is always a special day at church. It is one of only two ordinances that separate the church from other spiritual organizations. Every time we share it, it is a sacred day of self-examination and spiritual closeness. This week’s communion was more wonderful than I’ve experienced before. Instead of the normal: deacons in suits, sitting up front, folding the cloth, serving the silver platters… we shared the bread and juice in a different way; and it was so good, I recommend it to you, too!
There are two parts to communion – two distinct emphases. The first is what we often have shared together – it is remembrance of Christ’s death. Jesus and his Apostles said: “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Matthew 26:26; 1 Corinthians 11:24) Yet there is a second part of communion which is often left out… the celebration of Christ’s return. Just as the bread looks backward to salvation past (from sin’s penalty), the juice looks forward to the promise of salvation future (from sin’s presence). In 5 of the 6 passages in the Bible which speak of the Lord’s Supper, our hearts are pointed forward with hope to His return: “till he come.” “For this is the blood of the new testament (covenant, promise)…I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 11:26; Matthew 26:28-29)
First, we followed up a message about commitment by writing down the thing(s) that most often holds us back from giving God 100%. A sin, any unforgiveness, an addiction, a destructive thought pattern, pride, a loose tongue… you name it, we wrote it down. Then we brought our sins and problems to the cross and nailed them there – literally. Hammer and nails were provided to remind us how Christ took our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross. We nailed our papers to a rugged, railroad-tie cross and left them there. What a release!
Second, unleavened bread was set at the altar, near the cross (unleavened, since leaven in the Scriptures is a picture of sin, and Jesus was totally pure). A few at a time, we took the bread, knelt at the altar and remembered the price that Christ paid for our sins. We looked inward to see if there was anything to confess to God before we shared the bread.
Next, as people finished the bread, they were asked to come up onto the platform. The three steps would symbolize Christ’s time in the grave and his triumphant resurrection. Once on the platform, with smiles and song, we enjoyed the cup of promise. We lingered and rejoiced together because of God’s forgiveness.
Lastly, we made our way off the platform, but did not return back to our seats. We fellowshipped in the aisles and sang together a song or two (In Christ Alone & Beautiful, Terrible Cross). In this same setting, we gave our tithes and offerings, and then we were dismissed. What a beautiful note on which to end the service.
Praise the Lord for a sweet time together!