Where baptism is a once in a lifetime event, communion is Jesus’ ongoing gift to us. It is beautifully physical and is a gift of grace whereby we are given a specific means to renew our covenant with the Lord.
Communion is not merely symbolic, but is a way that Jesus is present with us and feeds us spiritually, as we submit ourselves to him.
In communion we are reminded that we are sharers together with each other of Christ’s body – that is why we share the bread and the juice.
Communion is a deliberately and powerfully shared sacrament.
We must never take communion selfishly, greedily or pridefully, but with a humble awareness of one another as “the body of the Lord.”
In taking communion together regularly we are challenged to give way to others, to humble ourselves before the Lord and to value others above ourselves.
Traditionally communion was understood to be so significant in the life of a believer that people would be described as either “communicants” or “non-communicants”!
It followed that the most significant and sorrowful form of church discipline was to “ex communicate” someone, meaning they were not allowed to receive communion until they had repented of the sin that had so breached the fellowship within the church.
To be separated from the grace of this communal sacrament was a tragedy.
Nowadays people tend to ex-communicate themselves by non-attendance of church, and so deprive and starve themselves of this gift of grace. This is no less tragic than what was done in the past.
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.
1 Corinthians 11:23-29