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Communion Meditations (2022)



Originally scheduled for April 31

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

(1 Corinthians 10:16 KJV)


It may come as a surprise to the average Christian that there seems to be only one verse in the Bible which refers to The Lord’s Supper as “communion.” That verse is quoted above. It’s quoted from the King James Version of the Bible, as that version is most influential in determining what the English language uses for biblical translation. The word itself, “communion”, apparently entered the church languages through St. Augustine. He was under the mistaken impression that the Latin word communio was derived from com- "with, together" + unus "oneness, union." This is somewhat incorrect; the original meaning is “sharing in common.”


There are other translations of the word. Various versions of the Bible you such things as fellowship, partaking, sharing, and participation. So you might well ask, just what should we use here?


The original Greek word is koinonia. When it does not refer to the Lord’s Supper, it is usually translated “fellowship.” As such we might ask just what such fellowship is supposed to refer to. There are three obvious points. The first is simple enough; it refers to fellowship within the church locally. We, as part of the body of Christ meeting locally, take the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of him. His command alone is quite sufficient for this; we need no other authority.


The second sense in which we take communion as fellowship is with the church universal — all Christians in all places of all times. All those who claim Christ as Lord constitute the church. We acknowledge our unity and fellowship with them in anticipation of the day our Lord will return — when we can acknowledge it in person with them.


Thirdly, we take this meal in fellowship with Christ himself. He told us that the cup was his blood; he told us that the bread was his body; he told us to do this in remembrance of him. Every time we do this we fellowship with him in remembrance.


Which brings us to the questions of fellowship. We say we do this in fellowship, in communion with the local body, with the church universal and with Christ. Let us therefore examine ourselves and see no well we are doing at the test of fellowship.


First, do you strengthen or weaken the bonds of fellowship in your local church? Is your conduct such as tends to conciliate and unify the body of Christ, or do you attempt to tear it apart in the name of winning an argument?

Second, what is your behavior towards those who are members of the church universal but not your local congregation? A pointed test may be made here: do you love your local brother but despise your Catholic one? You claim the same Lord who instructed you not to judge your brother but to leave that to Him.

Most important of all, how is your fellowship with Jesus Christ. When you examine yourself at communion, do you find the same faults unremedied? Do you find it difficult to go to prayer, or to meditate on the Scriptures because of what you might find out about yourself?


Koinonia.  Fellowship. Communion. How are the bonds within the meal?

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