52 weeks of communion

Communion

In the last year, I’ve taken communion more times than I had in the prior eleven. The churches I attended back in Canada participated in communion, of course. It’s just that they offered it on a different rhythm.[1. Roughly every 8-12 weeks is what it wound up being.] When we first moved, one of the things I was concerned about was whether or not it would begin to feel unimportant, even as I was looking forward to it feeling normal.

Since then, I’ve taken communion 50-ish times since then. And every time it feels as important as the last. Here’s why:

I still need be reminded of the gospel as much as I ever did.

That’s really what it comes down to. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t need to remember the gospel. To remember that Christ’s body was broken for me. To remember that his blood was shed for me. To have someone speak these truths to me as I tear off a piece of bread and dip it in a cup filled with grace juice.[2. Or, unfermented wine, for all you purists out there.]

That’s what communion offers. It tells me that the live I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20). It’s hard to imagine that ever feeling routine or unimportant.

I hope communion feels “normal”

Communion

Communion has always been special to me. The first time I participated was immediately after being baptized. I was soaking wet, but super-thrilled. Every time I took the bread and the cup from that first time forward, I did so mindful of its meaning—remembering the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. Remembering that my sin was paid for through his suffering.

But up until recently, I’ve never taken it every week.

In every church I’ve been a part of, communion was taken roughly quarterly (occasionally a bit more than). From what I could see in both instances, it wasn’t a lack of desire, it was just practical. Coordinating volunteers, resources and everything else that goes into something as “simple” as this ritual can be a nightmare, depending on how you’re doing it. And if you’re buying the pre-packed juice and wafers, sweet goodness, those aren’t cheap… All this to say, I hope that when you read this, you don’t hear me criticizing any church’s practice (especially not those I’ve been a member at).

With rare exception, whenever we had communion, it was an important moment of worship. But it didn’t seem “normal”, if you know what I mean.

Experiencing a different approach

On our first visit to a church here in Franklin, we took communion. I automatically assumed it was timed for the weekend. The way we did it was a little different than I’d experienced in the past, with stations for us all to go up and take a piece of bread, and dip it in the cup. Some consumed it at the station. Others took it back to their seats and prayed for a while beforehand. (I was one of the latter.)

There was a sense of familiarity among the congregation as they took part in this. Not in an “empty ritual” sense, mind you. But that everyone saw the act for what it was: a normal expression of worship.

How my appreciation for communion is growing

Three weeks and a whirlwind move later, we were back for our second Sunday. I looked around and saw the stations in place once again. Being a little slow on the uptake, I realized that we would be participating in communion each week. I once again took the bread and dipped it in the cup, and returned to my seat where I prayed and then ate. As we’ve been continuing to find a church to call home, communion has been a constant.

I did took it last week, and again yesterday. Lord willing, I will do it again next Sunday, too.

I’m excited. I’m excited, not because it’s novel, but because I can see a day coming where communion won’t be novel to me at all. It won’t feel like an event, in a certain sense. And I think that’s a good thing, at least for me. Because the more frequently I do it, the more it becomes a part of my worship. I get to rehearse the gospel, to preach it to myself in those moments leading up to taking it. To come before him in a worthy manner.

I’m not there yet, of course. Three weeks is hardly enough time to say “Look at this great spiritual insight or transformation”. But I’m looking forward to communion feeling “normal.” Eventually.

And I think it will, because I suspect it’s supposed to be that way.


Photo via Freely Photos