Originally scheduled for July 31
As any married man can tell you, diamonds are expensive. For such
a small stone we pay quite a lot. To the mineralogist the diamond is
distinctive because it’s extremely hard. To the rest of us, it is
distinctive because of the way it deals with light. Turn the diamond
just a bit in the light reflecting through it changes. What a
diamond looks like depends on what view you take of it; a different
angle produces a different view.
In a way, communion can be
thought of as a diamond being twisted in the light and examined from
all sides. It produces a different display for each of these. Here
are four ways to look at communion.
Obedience, as a topic, is not preached as much as it used to be. But
it has lost none of its importance. The simple fact is that Christ
commanded us to partake of communion. It is the only repetitive
ceremony Christ ever prescribed for his disciples.
Let’s look at
that word “disciple.” It’s related to the word discipline, which we
may take in the sense of being a disciplined athlete. The pole
vaulter, for example, must practice his leap over and over to get it
exactly right. Pole vaulting has laws — physics and otherwise —
which must be obeyed to be successful. So too with the Christian.
This is one of the rules; obey it.
Obedience is a skill that must
be practiced to be useful. But in the end it comes down to one
thing: this is the Lord’s Supper. If you are his disciple, you will
do as he commands.
Communion is intended to be a perpetual memory. It was given to the
apostles, the founders of the church. It has been passed on from
generation to generation until our day. It was not intended to be a
So what is it that we are to remember?
First, we should remember who gave it to us. Our Lord himself
considered it important that on his last night before crucifixion he
implemented this memorial meal. He is the “who” that we should
The “what” that we should remember is given to us in the elements of
communion. The bread represents his body, hung on a cross for the
sins of the world. The cup represents his blood, shed for the
forgiveness of sins. Remember the price he paid for your salvation.
It may seem a trivial point,
but Christ in initiating this meal gave thanks both with the bread
and the cup, separately. Often in his life he set an example for the
rest of us, as at his baptism. It is entirely appropriate we give
thanks at communion, considering what he has done for us. Indeed,
the church word “Eucharist” is a transliteration from the Greek
which means “Thanksgiving.”
We seldom give thanks for our
miseries and pains, but were usually pretty good about giving thanks
for our blessings and gifts. So it is entirely appropriate that we
give thanks for the gift of salvation, grace. The word “grace” stems
from a Greek word which means “gift.” Let us give thanks for the
free gift of God, blessing even the worst of us with forgiveness of
sin and salvation. We are all sinners; we can at least be grateful
The root word for
communion in the Greek, “koininoa”, is also translated in other
passages as “fellowship”. There are two senses in which we should
First, we should experience fellowship with our church. One of the
best ways to enhance fellowship is to share a meal — hence the
constant popularity of potluck dinners. In communion we share a
symbolic meal, full of intense meaning rather than calories. This
builds the church together. The church should be one, as God and
Christ are one.
The church and its members are being built up together. This implies
they are built together on one foundation: Jesus Christ. We not only
fellowship with each other we also fellowship with him. He tells us
that wherever two or more are present in his name, there he is also.
Above all others, he should be welcome. We should fellowship with
him during communion in prayer and meditation.
commands; remember his sacrifice; give thanks for his grace and join
with the church and fellowship with him. May the Holy Spirit grant
you the peace that comes from truly knowing our Lord and Savior,