By Rick Shallenberger
Participating in communion is something that can be done in church and in the home, with family, friends or alone. There is no specific pattern for taking communion, nor is there a specific mood or tone to enter into. Sometimes you are somber, reflecting on the suffering and rejection Jesus experienced throughout his life. At other times you are filled with joy and celebration as you reflect on Jesus continually inviting you to share in his joy and his communion with the Father and Spirit. Communion is about Jesus—his life, death, resurrection, ascension and invitation for you to join him in the communion he shares.
Here is one suggested pattern:
- Prior to beginning, set aside a small amount of bread (cracker, biscuit or cookie)—either leavened or unleavened—and a small glass of wine or grape juice for each person who will participate. (While bread and wine were mentioned in the gospels, we understand that sometimes those items are simply not available, especially during this time of “Shelter in place” rules many around the world are facing due to Covid-19. In this case, you may use other food and drink. Jesus used what was readily available in his culture.)
- Start with a worship song—one that focuses on how good God is, such as “Good Good Father,” or “I Love You Lord.” Get your thoughts focused on who Jesus is—your Lord and Savior, but also your brother and the one who calls you friend.
- Spend a minute or two in prayer—asking Jesus to help you see his love, to see that he and the Father are one, to understand how Father, Son and Holy Spirit are inviting you to participate in their love for each other and for you. Remembering Jesus is remembering his faithful love for you and the glorious victory over sin and death that is ours because of his sacrificial love. sacrifice of the Son of God.
- You may wish to read the gospel account of the Lord’s Supper or read Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 and John 6:32-58. The eating and drinking of the symbols of Jesus’ body and blood are directly associated with eternal life.
- Pick up the bread and ask God to bless it as a symbol of Christ’s body, given for us. The bread represents the body of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. Christ lives in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, making us part of the unified body of Christ—his church, the family of God made up of all believers everywhere through all time. Eating the bread indicates our commitment to Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Peter 2:20-24). Give thanks and then eat the bread.
- Pick up the cup and ask God to bless it as a symbol of Christ’s blood given for us. The cup is a representation of the sacrifice Jesus made for the remission of our sins. It is the supreme example of love – that one will give up his life for others. Give thanks for forgiveness and our reconciliation to the Father and drink from the cup.
- You may want to read portions of John 13:18-John 17, focusing on the new commandment Jesus gave us to love as he loves.
- End with another song of praise—giving God glory for who he is in your life.
Again, this is just one way of participating in communion. You can make communion as long or as short as you wish. There are numerous other ways. Feel free to share with each other wonderful and joyful ways of participating in the communion.