No man is an island—
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. —John Donne
At this local church, I am not concerned that someone will take more than their share of the bread or fruit of the vine. We have enough for everyone to partake. The purpose of this study is to raise awareness that we are communing with each other at the Lord’s Table. If we are not communing with each other, then we cannot call it the Lord’s Table but something less meaningful.
At this local church, I partake of the communion together with the local body of believers as instructed in the New Testament. We happen to do it quietly. Most of us are silent and contemplative. But if I am closed minded toward my brothers and sisters, is it the Lord’s Supper that I partake?
I am not saying we must have a discussion during the communion, but in fact it is our custom for one individual to offer some thoughts before the Lord’s Table so that we can focus our minds. So I offer these thoughts in an effort to focus our minds on the fact that we are sharing this meal as a family.
One may look upon the passing of the trays of bread and fruit of the vine as rather simple, benign, or obviously necessary. But it is so very important. That is precisely what Jesus did when he instituted this memorial at the last Passover with his disciples. He passed the bread and the cup; to Peter, James, John, Matthew and so forth. Did Matthew gobble it all down for himself and leave the rest empty-handed? Of course not! They shared a precious moment with their Lord and Savior and with each other. How powerful!
As the bread and cup are passed between us, we share it with one another and we are woven together much like a quilt. Christ’s body and blood bind us together into something larger and more beautiful.
I see a parallel in the human body. We are tied together by a vascular system. Tunnels penetrate every part of our bodies delivering blood, enabling all of our parts to get the vital oxygen and nutrients needed to survive. In the Lord’s Supper, the power of Christ’s body and blood circulates through us and fills us with life. That is if we share it.
Would you put a tourniquet around your healthy arm? That sounds ridiculous! Tightening a tourniquet around your arm cuts off vitality to your limb. It will atrophy and get infected; eventually your arm will die and fall off. Sound familiar? Corinth had the same problem. Is it any wonder many were weak and ill, and some had died (verse 30)? It is as if a tourniquet had been tied around a portion of the body of Christ in Corinth and they were choked to death; because they did not share the body and blood of our Lord.
May it never be at any local church where any of us may worship. I am thankful for my church family with whom I commune. I am thankful that we share the body and blood of Christ. I hope you feel the same way. Next time you partake of communion, consider what you are doing. You are communing with Christ and with the members of His body. Consider their well-being and share with them. Put your arm around them, hold their hand, or say a prayer for them.
You cannot take communion alone.