Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Communion - What Does God Want From It? (And a Recipe!)

Delicious unleavened bread from recipes for our daily bread dot com. 

Every other week, I make the bread for our weekly participation in the Lord's Supper.  Sometime last fall, I came across this absolutely delicious recipe from Diane at Recipes For Our Daily Bread.  This bread is so yummy that there is never any left (and I make quite a bit) and when The Cowboy first tasted it he declared it was too yummy to qualify as communion bread!

You see, millennia of a distorted view of the Lord's Supper - that has resulted in a form of ritualism that God has declared that He despises - have brought us to believe that Communion is a time of somber reflection over tasteless bits of cracker and a thimble of juice.

The practice instituted by the Spirit-led apostles couldn't have been further from our sad attempts to participate in what was established as a glorious time of remembrance and fellowship among believers.


The Lord's Supper in Scripture and in History

What the Word says:


  • The Lord's Supper was observed weekly by the Church the apostles instituted.  (Acts 20:7)
  • The Lord's Supper was observed as part of a true meal. (1 Corinthians 14:23-34)
  • The Lord's Supper was observed to remember Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:24), to proclaim the Lord's death (1 Corinthians 11:26) and as a way to participate in the blood and body of the Lord.  (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
  • Christians constitute the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)
  • Paul's frustration with the Corinthian church's observance of the Lord's Supper was their lack of love for one another - a lack of rightly judging "the Body" - the Church. (1 Corinthians 11:18-34)
  • The Lord's Supper was a main reason, if not the main reason, Christians came together on Sunday.  (Acts 20:7 & 1 Corinthians 11:17, 18, & 20)



What the Lord's Supper looked like in the First Century (according to history & tradition)


The history of the early Church tells us that first Christians partook of the Lord's Supper in homes as part of a full meal.  This was not a somber time, but one of joy and anxious anticipation of the Lord's return.  There is some controversy as to the frequency of the taking of the Lord's Supper - but it was no less frequent than weekly, and there is strong reason to believe it was a daily occurrence.   The Lord's Supper also appears to have been a major, if not the primary, event of the gathering of the church.


How it Looks in Our Home Church Fellowship

While it is still evolving in our congregation, I am so excited about what is going on as we come together for the Lord's Supper.  Here's what it currently looks like:

We partake of the Lord's Supper as part of our noon meal - providing enough grape juice and unleavened bread as we would any other part of the meal.  If our gathering is not too large, we gather around our table and begin by passing the bread and praying - with particular emphasis on Jesus' body that was sacrificed for us.  Then The Cowboy asks if there's anyone who'd like to share something about Jesus - especially something He's doing in their life right now or how He has changed their life.

You can imagine what a wonderful, uplifting period of time this is.

You see, this is a Memorial Service.  It's certainly a time of reflection for what the Lord had to sacrifice to purchase us...but too often, in the congregations I've been a part of, that is all.  

But, you see, that is only half of the glorious story!

He has risen.

He has risen!

If that truth doesn't grab you...  If the fact that Jesus didn't stay in the grave and we won't either doesn't send chills up your spine, you need to think about it some more.

Over 20 years ago, my paternal grandmother died.  She was the first person I was really close to who passed away.  After her memorial service, my dad took everyone to lunch.  I recall being first appalled, and then encouraged by what happened next.  

They told stories about my grandma.  They told of the awesome things she had done.  And, they told of some crazy things she had done.

They laughed.  They cried.  My dad laughed so hard that he cried.

How much moreso should remembering Jesus' life on earth, His death for our sins, and his resurrected life bring such emotion from us?

I love to hear what the children have to say about Jesus. 

I love to hear what the Cowboy has to say.

I love to hear what Jesus is doing, right now, in the lives of His people.

I love this time, when the Cowboy asks us if there's anything Jesus is doing in our lives that we want to share, because it is a celebration of the other half of the story behind communion:  

He. Has. Risen! 


More often than not (because some among us aren't ready to let go of our deeply ingrained traditions), we then pass the grape juice and a prayer is said about the juice and Jesus' blood that was shed for us.  Next there is a general prayer for the meal.  It is my hope that we will, eventually, embrace a format more like what Jesus exemplified at the "last supper" in which the meal was "kicked off" with a prayer for the cup and completed with a prayer for the bread.


The Reason:

It's called "communion" for a reason.  When we take a good, hard, look at Paul's words about the Lord's Supper in 1st Corinthians 11, we see that his real issue is their lack of brotherly love for one another.

It's hard to believe that we call it "communion" when most of us take it while looking at the back of the head in front of us - with nothing resembling fellowship at all in the setting - but it was Jesus' desire that this event would bring His disciples together to remember his death and resurrection - not individually, but as a body of believers.  He didn't mean for us to partake as somber, quiet individuals in a 10 minute ritual devoid of fellowship and interaction, but for us to remember Him together - and remind one another of what He did and, because of that, what we have in Him!


What does the Lord's Supper look like in your body of believers?  Hopefully it resembles the supper that the Lord instituted!


Photobucket

Shared at:
Winsome Wednesdays
Coffee for Your Heart
WFMW Link Up
Whole Hearted Wednesday
Thriving Thursday
A Little R & R
Thought-Provoking Thursday
Faith Filled Friday

4 comments:

  1. Wow - no tasteless bread? not sure if that's ever happened in my communions! you are blessed around your farm table. my favorite part of communion is taking time to repent and confess before taking the cup. and before I drink the juice, i like to lift my cup as a "cheers" to my Father for all He did in sending His Beloved. thanks for your thoughtful description of remembering what God wants us so badly to remember. I linked next to you this morning at holley gerth. (:

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    1. " and before I drink the juice, i like to lift my cup as a "cheers" to my Father for all He did in sending His Beloved."

      I loved that, Sue! I have often thought we should raise our glasses and "salut" the Lord during Communion!

      You know, my dad was so somber and moved during Communion when I was a child - that always impacted me and made the Lord's Supper one of my favorite events in worship!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  2. you're welcome and thanks for yours - would you like to link this post on mine so my readers can read your thoughtful communion comments? and i'll put this on my fb as well. (: i only do a link up on Tuesday's - new for me . where's your farm? i'm an accidental gardener as in, it's an accident if it grows, and we're in a major draught in CA - ): sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - an accidental gardener! I live smack dab in the middle of central Oregon.

      Thank you for sharing my post - and I'll link up on your blog. Thank you for the invitation.

      Delete

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