This is a little different take on communion than you are used too. It starts with letting my children help with communion prep and ends with a very insightful lesson.
It all begin one Sunday morning when we thought my little girls were experienced enough to handle filling the communion trays with Matzo (communion bread). They had carefully watched us for the last 3 months break the bread into four pieces and put two pieces into each tray.
So they added two pieces to each tray, they told us, and then they put them on the stage to wait for communion time.
When the time of communion arrived, I see a smile rise on our communion servers face as he hands us our bread. It was two very small pieces of communion wafer about a 1x1 inch square. So panic starts to set in and I wonder if the communion trays will have enough bread to go through all the people in the congregation. I question whether I should go grab more from the back.
Then it hits me.....Loaves and fishes and where is my faith?
John 6:6: When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten."My little girls of age 7 and 5 had faith that the two small little pieces in each tray were enough for the people of my church. It was prayed over and blessed. Guess what? It was enough and when the trays were empty when they arrived in the back. Each person had to decide to share communion with the people beside them or just grab a big bite.
It reminded me of the purposes of communion.
1. To remember a savior who sacrificed for us. Who though of us over his own needs. Who expects us as his brother's and sisters to do the same for those around us.
2. It reminded me of how much we have have that other people don't. Most of us are not starving. Most of us throw out food just like the left over communion would be thrown out each week. Communion wasn't the wine and juice in little cups it was a meal. A meal that provided the hungry much needed nourishment. For those that had plenty it was a way of sharing the blessings that God had provided. To sacrifice for one another.
1 Corinthians 11:17: In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.
In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.3. My lack of faith. My first reaction to the bread was not to pray, my first action was to panic and try to decide how to act. I did not believe that God could make that little bit of bread stretch to the crowd of a Sunday morning service.
So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
4. It showed me how much we all check out in a service where everything is the same and fail to see each other. Where the same routines put us all asleep mentally and spiritually. One lady told me story of seeing one little bite was left for her and 5 other people and how they all laughed and enjoyed one another as they each tried to break off their own teeny tiny piece. Instead of the usual quiet there was people looking around and actually seeing the people who served communion and the person sitting next to them. They considered each other.
5. Communion was meant to be a time to spur one another on.
Hebrews 10:24: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Not only should we be feeding the hungry and sacrificing with communion we are suppose to be encouraging one another. Communion brings hope. A hope of heaven, hope of someone loving us, a hope that Jesus can meet all our needs, hope of living another day, a hope that persevering is worth it and hope that things are not as bad as they may seem.
So the question comes, how do we make communion what it is supposed to be? I would love some ideas. Please feel free to share them in the comments section.