“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” – 1 Corinthians 11:24
I did not want to watch the tray pass me by again. After church I told my pastor that I wanted to take part in Holy Communion. Pastor Bob told me that in order to take communion I needed to be baptized. Sign me up!
Recently, my mother found the baptism application form that I filled out when I was nine. As I was reviewing the decades old form I realized that I may have fibbed on my application. The form asked, “Why do you want to be baptized?” I wrote, “To show a symbol that I have excepted Christ.” I think they got the gist of what I was trying to say. But what I did not find on the form was that I really wanted to share in Holy Communion. I wanted to be a part of my church and share with them in the gifts of Christ’s table.
Holy Communion has layers of meaning wrapped up in the grain and the grape. For me, one of the more compelling truths of communion is its expression of community. The singer-songwriter John Michael Talbot expresses this truth beautifully in his song, One Bread, One Body.
One bread, one body, one Lord of all
One cup of blessing which we bless
And we, though many, throughout the Earth
We are one body in this one Lord
Many the gifts, many the works
One in the Lord
When we share in the bread and the cup we are testifying to the truth that we are united in Christ. This is an important truth and not something to take lightly. In 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul sternly admonishes the church in Corinth because they are participating in Holy Communion while actively pursuing division and disunity. It is this contradiction that leads him to warn the church to not take communion in “an unworthy manner.”
This Sunday we will be invited to share in Holy Communion and after worship we will gather for our church’s Annual Budget Meeting. Our unity in Christ does not end at the Postlude. The unity in Christ we celebrate in worship is the same unity in Christ we practice while attending to the business of the church. This unity does not mean uniformity. We do not all need to think the same, speak the same, or vote the same. But we must respect the bond of Christ that unites us. This bond is more important than any budget. This bond shapes the tone and tenor of our communication. This bond is what frees us to believe the best in the other and trust that the same Holy Spirit desires to stir and speak through us all.