John 6:54–66, Zechariah 3:1–4, Romans 8:31–39
The how of Communion has been a mystery of and for the church. How it works has been (and continues to be) a strong discussion point between traditions and denominations. What hasn’t been a discussion point is that it does work. The long practice of Communion ties generations to the past, communities together, connects hearts and minds to the faith. At the beginning, even before Jesus’ death on the cross, it was a dividing point. People took a very literal view of Jesus’ wording, which turned them away from him. Those that knew him—the 12 disciples—didn’t walk away. They seemed to have some understanding that Jesus wasn’t being as literal as others had assumed. That does not mean they completely understood. They did, however, know Jesus, so instead of insisting to understand, they accepted. Jesus did make accepting blood and flesh crucial to being his follower, and receiving eternal life. Thus Communion is not just something we do lightly.
Communion is part of the transformed/transforming/being-transformed life of being a Christian. It is part of our adoption into God’s family. As we become, and continue to be, a part of God’s family, we can rely and trust in Paul’s words about those who accuse us. The accusations of being nonredeemable and unredeemed are the same accusations that Zechariah saw Satan throw at Joshua (a high priest, not the prophet who followed Moses). The same filthy rags that were removed from Joshua (and by extensions, the Jews), are those removed from us when we accept Jesus Christ.
The Accuser (whether Satan or people who seek to pull us down) is a constant threat to a Christian (or anyone). However, when we have Jesus Christ and are in fellowship with him, the accusations are merely empty words. The words and spirit behind them hurt, but we turn to Jesus who wipes away our tears and hurt. Communion is that constant reminder that God is the host of the banquet. He has clothed us in white, even though we cannot see it.
1) Have you ever come across a time or place where Communion separated, rather than joined, people to Christ and the greater body? What was it like?
2) Have you ever thought about the importance of Communion in regards to your salvation? How do you think that works?
3) Accusations can often keep us away from the table. When you “hear” accusations, how do you deal with them? Do you bring them to others, or do you bear them alone?