What is communion?

It is called
the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, communion, and eucharist. But why do
Christians celebrate communion? What is this little ceremony with the bread and
wine all about? One way to think about communion is in terms of time: past,
present, and future.

Communion
is about the past

Perhaps the
most obvious feature of communion in relation to time is that communion is
about the past. Communion is focused on Christ’s suffering and death on the
cross, which took place in the past. We are reminded by the words of Jesus in
the Bible to remember his death until he returns.

A very large
part of the “keeping in mind” Christ’s death is our look back to the cross. It
is a truly stunning and life-changing moment when you realize that Jesus died
for the world, for the church, and yes even particularly for you somewhere
around two thousand years before you were even born. Our Christianity flows out
of the God we know in Jesus. It is a life of humility and grace and confidence
in who God is and what his heart toward the world is.

Communion
is about the present

Jesus makes
communion what it is. But in our attitude and our choices, we determine the
effect communion will have on us. For the unbeliever, communion is nothing more
than a simple meal of bread and wine. For the rebellious believer, communion
can be a dangerous roll of the dice.

For the
believer, communion is a whole lot more than a look back toward the past.
Communion raises the question of whether I am a person of faith and whether the
object of my faith is Jesus and his good news. It also raises the question of
how I am thinking and living as a believer, as a participant in the faith
community called church, and as a person of faith who lives in a world
predicated on sight.

Communion
is about the future

One day
every knee will bow and every tongue will confess what is true about God. One
day God’s kingdom will fully come on earth as it is in heaven. One day all who
have responded by faith to God’s grace will be gathered for the marriage supper
of the Lamb.

Communion is
not only a visible reminder of what will one day be true. It is also a
present-day acting out of that future feast. Not only does Jesus offer for us
to become his siblings, to share in his inheritance, but also to start living
right now in light of what will be fully the case in the future.

Pastor Jon

Rev. Dr. Jon Wymer is a third-generation Baptist minister who serves as the pastor of Gibbon Baptist Church, an ABCUSA congregation founded in 1888. Jon is also a combat veteran in his 16th year of service with the Army National Guard.

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2 thoughts on “What is communion?

  1. Communion as I know it is the last part of the Passover feast and only Jesus could complete the Passover.

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