“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47.
Communion wasn’t always the bloody and flesh filled moment of reflection that we currently experience. Communion was once a time when Jewish communities who believed in Christ came together and shared a meal along with the symbolic bread and wine. They came together to support each other and learn amongst this new and growing sect of Jews. Together there were Jews and Gentiles, male and female, those with money and those who were poor.
As we learn from the letters to the Corinthians, there situations where there was not much communion. The rich would eat plenty of food and some would consume so much wine they became drunk; while at the same time there were those in the same house church who were with them hungry with nothing to eat.
Paul called for an end to this practice immediately, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
This isn’t simply a call to action from Paul, this is also expected of us by God. God wants us to be mindful during communion. Jesus wants us to remember what the bread and wine represent for the world and for our faith. When we come together a believers we are called to build each other up, stand strong with one another, and remember what Jesus did for every single person who has lived.
Partaking in communion without remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for us makes the ritual meaningless. Jesus asked of us during communion, “Do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24. Paul tells us that, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (v.26).
What normally goes through your mind as you participate in communion? Do you normally examine yourself before communion or before leaving for church? The next time you have communion, be mindful of your thoughts before, during, and after communion ceremony. Be honest and gentle with yourself regarding any thoughts that you might have during communion.