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What is Communion and why do we do it?

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I love celebrating Communion.
And make no mistake, it is a celebration.
I know we read in Luke 22: 19-20,
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”, Jesus commanded His followers to continue to re-enact that last meal with Him as a remembrance of Him and made it a tradition within the Church, but it’s not just a tradition or obedience to a command. …. It’s a celebration.
And yes, by inspiration of Holy Spirit, Paul shares with us in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30,
“27 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. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep”.
It’s serious business to take Communion, and we should examine ourselves and pray that same prayer David prayed in Psalm 139; and you’ll have to forgive me for using the KJV, but for me, the NIV just doesn’t do it justice
“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
But Communion isn’t just a time for reflection either…. It’s a celebration.
Yeah, I love Communion. But, you know, I didn’t always feel that way!
You see, I was somewhat weird when I was younger. Those that don’t know me may be shocked by that revelation. Those of you that have any acquaintance with me at all are thinking, “Well, duh.”
When I was a kid, and my pastor would read those words of Jesus when He said to His disciples, Take and eat, this is my body…and then He said ‘Drink this cup, it is my blood”, as a young, somewhat “teched in the head”, 10 year old boy, what went through my mind was, “Eeewwww! He wants us to eat His body and drink His blood!”
Now I was just normal enough to know I had to be missing some part of the story. I went to Sunday School, I knew Jesus wasn’t advocating anything weird like that, but I just couldn’t make the connection and I wasn’t quite crazy enough to ask my parents ‘cause I knew that after my momma got through scrubbing my mouth out with an SOS pad, my daddy would call the preacher and all 12 deacons down to cast that demon out of this little boy and I just wasn’t ready for that.
Then one day, I was reading John chapter 6 about Jesus feeding the 5000 and walking on the water ‘cause I liked those kinds of stories where Jesus did the unexpected and blew people’s minds, and I accidently got carried away and just kept reading. I got down to verse 48 and all of a sudden, understanding began to flood through me.
“48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them”.
I started flipping through the gospels and reading the story of the Lord’s Supper all over again.
You see, down south we called Communion the Lord’s Supper. We "wasn’t theologically politically correct" yet.
Anyway, I read Matthew 26:26-28
“26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Mark 14:22-24
“22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
Luke 22:19-20 “19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”;
and suddenly a light went on. And I thought, “He wants us to eat His body and drink His blood!” And suddenly, I wasn’t thinking “Eeewwwww! He wants us to eat His body and drink His blood!”
I was thinking, “How cool is that? He wants us to eat His body and drink His blood!”
You see, God created us with the need to eat, to consume food and drink. Why?
To live. To sustain life in our body. If we don’t eat and drink, what happens? We die.
Do we just miss a meal or two and fall over dead? No.
As we go without food and drink we get weak…. We start feeling sick…. We actually GET sick, then we begin to waste away and finally we die.
We MUST eat, we MUST take nourishment or we die.
You see, Jesus didn’t just die for our sins, He gave Himself to us, to be consumed by us that, in turn we may be consumed by Him and thereby have His life and His life is everlasting!
When we eat the bread and drink the cup we celebrate our communion with His gift of His body and His blood which gives and sustains His life in us.
And just as we have to eat our corn and chicken and biscuits and drink our tea and water and milk and of course coffee, on a daily basis in order to stay healthy and happy and functioning, we have to consume Jesus every day for the same reason.
Now, I’ve already said, Communion is a Celebration, and just like we don’t eat birthday cake and drink birthday punch every day, we don’t eat this bread and drink this cup every day.
We consume the Real Food that gives us the life we celebrate on our birthday, The Word of God. On Communion Sunday, we celebrate our Jesus who washes away our sin and gives us Everlasting, Abundant Life today, and tomorrow and forever.
So, when you take Communion, do it in obedience to the command of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and take a few minutes to reflect and examine where you stand in your fellowship with Him, and in your examination, first of all, make sure you HAVE fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. If you’ve never come to Jesus and submitted yourself to Him, giving Him total control of your life to Him, I invite you to come to Jesus right now… and then let’s celebrate His Gift of LETTING us eat his Body and drink His Blood.

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