March 4, 2021
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. (I Corinthians 11:23b-25 NIV)
Friend to Friend
I haven’t been inside my church since March 2020. COVID-19. Enough said.
My heart (which resides inside my extroverted body) aches deeply. I’ve missed corporate worship; I’ve missed the energy of the assembled body of Christ responding to the spirit-led teaching of my pastor; I’ve missed the before and after church conversations in the lobby—but what I’ve been especially missing was taking Communion!
Many months into our “church at home” routine I finally confessed to my husband my longing to take part in the sacrament of Holy Communion again. He replied quite matter-of-factly, “So then let’s take communion after church service tomorrow.” Sunday morning, I walked into the kitchen to find my precious hubby filling small glasses with a bit of red wine and placing out some broken pieces of unleavened crackers on a plate. My soul exhaled with contented anticipation.
Depending upon your individual church denomination, you may refer to this biblical ritual of Holy Communion simply as Communion, or maybe as The Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. Whichever term you use, its origin comes from the final meal which the Lord Jesus and his disciples shared the night of his arrest.
The apostle Paul recounts Jesus’ instruction to “do this” in I Corinthians 11:23b-25:
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.
The Last Supper which Jesus ate on earth happened to be the Passover meal. This would have required all the bread accompanying the meal to be of the non-leavened kind (to remind those eating it of the haste of their ancestor’s exodus from Egypt). Also, on the table, according to Jewish tradition, would have been four cups of wine, representing four promises the Lord Almighty gave to his people recorded in Exodus 6:6-7:
- “I will bring you out from the land of the Egyptians..."
- "I will deliver you from slavery..."
- "I will redeem you…"
- "I will take you as my own people..."
While we don’t know for certain which cup of wine in the sequence, Jesus lifted up, blessed, and passed around, my best sleuthing rests on that it was the fourth, "I will take you as my own people..." cup. I have come to this (semi-certain) conclusion based on Mark 14:26 which tells us this piece of information which occurred immediately after the meal was finished: “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Again, according to rabbinical tradition, it is after partaking of this forth cup, the hallel, that Jews participate in the reciting and singing of Psalms and hymns. All this to say that when we “do this in remembrance of Him, we are to be reminded that Jesus will, indeed, take us as His own people—or to put it another way— “I have gone to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2-3)
That Sunday, and many Sundays since, my husband and I have come together in our home to “eat this bread and drink this wine.” We do it in remembrance of Jesus.
Have you been missing participating in communion because you, like me, have been “attending” church from home? Or, maybe, given the infectious times we’re in, your church has decided to indefinitely postpone gathering around the Communion Table, or passing the elements. If so, consider joining me and the worldwide community of believers in honoring the Lord’s wishes by participating in this most sacred rite, because partaking in Communion brings us into communion with our Savior.
Dear Lord, I acknowledge Your death on the cross—the wounding of your flesh and the pouring out of your blood—as a propitiation for my sins. Thank you that your ultimate sacrifice brought me the ultimate reward, eternal life. May I be acutely aware of this transaction whenever I take part in Holy Communion.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn: If it’s been a while since you’ve taken Communion, prepare to take it at home this week following your church service. You certainly don’t need to use red wine. A bit of red-colored juice is a perfectly suitable substitute. But I do encourage you to use some yeast-free bread or matzah-type cracker—for authenticity.
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