Communion,or Holy Communion, is one of the three Christian sacraments, the other two being Baptism and Confirmation. As the source and summit of Christian life, Communion is a significant event in which a believer can be spiritually connected to God. But where in the Bible does it talk about Communion?
According to most Christian denominations, Matthew 26:26-29 is the cornerstone of understanding Communion within the Bible. This scripture states that Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, gave it to His disciples and said ‘This is My body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.’ He then took the cup, blessed it, and offered it to His disciples, saying ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’.
As Jesus performed these acts, He requested His disciples to remember and remember Him as they carried out the same physical activity. According to Acts 18:11, the practice of Communion did not emerge until the early stages of Christians and was commanded to be observed as a lasting reminder of Jesus’consecrated body and blood.
John 6:53-58 gives insight into the significance of Communion. Jesus tells the believers that they must ingest His body and drink of His blood if they wish to have eternal life and nourishment through Him, while Paul further explains this in 1 Corinthians 11:23-32. As Paul had recognized, Communion comprises not only of sharing bread and wine but rather also rejoicing in the grace of God and recognizing His death for the sake of believers.
For this reason, Communion should not be a mere ritual. Instead, it should be a reminder for the individual of their own faith and of Jesus’one-time offering for everyone. It is an occasion to meditate on His selfless love and humility in addition to a bond between believers and the holy trinity.
Furthermore, Communion should be celebrated within a community as a reminder that believers are all invited to partake within the same grand table in celebration of the Lord. The bond it creates between individuals leads them to a deeper understanding of union and harmony that should exist within the church.
The difference between Communion and Eucharist
Communion and the Eucharist have been confused with one another and are often used interchangeably. While both ideologies originate from Jesus’words at the last supper and share a common goal of remembering Him, they do have some distinct differences. Communion, as previously discussed, is established on Jesus’words and commanded to be carried out as a symbol of remembrance.
Conversely, the Eucharist is a form of worship in which believers passively receive mercy and grace in addition to connecting with God and expressing one’s faith. The Eucharist is typically celebrated in a form of Church service, whereas Communion is carried out independently of a church service and follows the ‘Lord’s prayer’.
The meaning of Communion for Christians
Christians believe Communion to be an act of love and kindness that solidifies one’s faith in Him. It is a source of grace and a way to give thanks and praise to God. By partaking in Communion, believers also connect to one another. It is an opportunity to gather in unity, give thanks and reconcile with one another.
Communion is most often seen in the form of holy meals or feasts, the first famous one being The Last Supper which was celebrated by Jesus himself. During these celebrations, those in attendance are reminded of their own unwavering faith and courage to follow the Word of God and His ways.
The rituals associated with Communion
Though the form of Communion is open to individual interpretation, there are several aspects considered by many that are often maintained within most denominations. These include: eating bread and drinking wine, reading scriptures or verses, prayer or singing hymns, silent reflection or contemplation, passing the peace, and anointing with oil.
The bread and wine are symbolic of Jesus’body and blood as well as represent an act of praise and prayer. As for reading scriptures or verses, this is usually a passage from the Bible directed towards the faith, hope, and love that accompany Communion. At the same time, the associated prayer and hymns typically remind believers of the greatness of God and what He has done for them.
Silent reflection or contemplation is meant to allow individuals to enter a state of deep peace and find solace in the presence of God and His word. During this time, believers are also encouraged to reflect on their own spiritual journey, better connecting them with the Word of God. Lastly, the passing of the peace is an act to strengthen fellowship with one another in the name of God.
The importance of Communion
Communion is an important part of Christian life, providing a moment in the day or week in which the person can practice their faith and thank God for His greatness. It allows individuals to strengthen their relationship with God, reform their redemption and steep their faith in prayer and understanding. Participants of Communion can also give thanks for Jesus’sacrifice and appreciate the importance of the Lord’s supper.
In short, Communion is a powerful moment to appreciate the love and gratuity of God and his unconditional blessings, connecting believers with all three of the essential sacraments. As one of the ultimate spiritual philosophies, Communion is a ceremony to be witnessed and celebrated in faith, faith and hope that arrive together with God’s ultimate love.
Communion in different denominations
Different denominations interpret Communion differently, though some of the basic elements remain the same across all groups and include the consumption of bread and wine, praying and reading from the Bible, and personal reflections. As such, the age of first communion and the frequency of Communion itself differ between denominations.
For example, Catholics partake in Communion at least once during Mass and only after they have gone through a three-step preparation process. For their part, Lutherans typically have their children receive their first Communion at an older age than Catholics or other denominations, while members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints partake in the sacrament every Sunday. There are many other denominations that have their own unique understanding of Communion.
Communion versus Sacrifice
Communion and sacrifice have similar goals of praising and thanking God for His grace, but the two concepts are distinct from one another. Unlike Communion, sacrifice requests the believer to offer up something of themselves to Him, such as in the practice of fasting from food or abstaining from material items.Sacrifice is seen as an act of submission to God, putting the believer in a position of humility and recognizing His power.
By doing so, the believer gains new knowledge, as well as a closer connection with God. It is also meant to enable pilgrims to maintain a humble heart, have open communication with God, and dedicate their time to connecting with Him. Thus, while Sacrifice calls for giving up something in order to bridge the gap between the person and the divine, Communion remains an act of joy, celebration and gratitude.
The difference between Communion and partaking of the cup
The terms ‘communion’and ‘partaking of the cup’are sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct definitions. Communion is the broader term and relates to drinking the cup and eating the bread, while “partaking of the cup” is specifically referring to drinking fromthe cup which carries His blood. Commonly known as The Cup, it contains the un-fermented wine and serves as a reminder of Jesus’passion and a token of the new covenant.
This also explains why wine is typically used as the cup of remembrance during Communion services instead of grape juice, as it more accurately symbolizes His blood. Nonetheless, many denominations and churches are starting to use grape juice as an alternative to wine, considering the fact that too much alcohol consumption is deemed inappropriate within a religious environment.
The significance of Communion during the pandemic
The significance of Communion has only grown during the current health pandemic. In the absence of physical contact, Communion has provided a platform for individuals collectively pursue their spiritual connections with God. To many, it is an act of hope and a reminder of the unifying power of Jesus and the redeeming nature of His grace.
It has provided a much-needed sense of connectedness, allowing individuals to communicate and connect with God even from great distances. This has enabled them to cope with loneliness and anxiety while having faith and hope that they will be able to reunite with their loved ones.
Communion is also seen as a source of mercy and support, Signifying that, even though being apart physically, God never turns away His children and, with Jesus’sacrifice, He stays ever present and ready to help those in need.