Communion and gobbling!
Today we have a guest writer on the blog - my husband, Mark! He wanted to share to you a bit of his journey with Holy Communion to get you thinking...
He sat across the table from me and looked straight at me and said forcefully, while shoveling imaginary food into his mouth 'the problem with all you Baptists is when it comes to Communion you just gobble gobble gobble!'
In 2005 I was studying at Anglican Bible college in the UK before moving out to Peru and we were studying a module on the church and looking at the sacraments. To be honest I was offended, bemused and amused all at the same time.
It caused to mediate and think about the Holy Communion, the Eucharist from a different angle.
I grew up in an Anglican Church that my parents went to and where we were members all my childhood. I also went to a Church of England middle school. I took Communion every single service I was at because the church I grew up in took a more relaxed view over who could take Communion on a Sunday and allowed children to take it if their parents allowed it. The problem, however, was before actually taking the bread and the watered down wine we went through the Communion service and prayer which lasted probably about 45 minutes (but felt like 2 hours to a young immature teenager!) and by 13 I had learned the service by memory. It is fair to say that I became numb to what I was saying and celebrating and I certainly did not understand the mystery and the divine sacrifice that was being remembered.
Holy Communion just became a nice distraction in an otherwise boring service.
All this was brought back to me when this trainee pastor made this strong comment at me. His opinion was due to the general Anglican practice of drinking from one shared cup, taken together in community remembering what He did for us corporately, compared to the general baptist way which is to have an individual cup and celebrate what Jesus had done for me personally.
As I reflected on this I realised that actually neither were wrong, they were both true! Jesus died for me and he also died for his bride as well. What was more poignant was that I realised that I had lost the real meaning of Communion in my life in my childhood. The man may have been inappropriate in his comments, but he did me a service to make me start thinking again about what Christ did for me and how we have the honour of celebrating this when we take the elements of the bread and the wine. This was a profound lesson for me and after forgiving the people who had caused this hardness in my heart and asking forgiveness from Jesus I began a journey which continues until today and will continue going forward until the day I meet Jesus.
As a church leader I not only have the privilege of receiving this symbol of sacrifice but also leading others to enter into this place of love, sacrifice, mystery and thankfulness. God is all about the second chances and redeeming what was lost and taking the bread and wine is no longer lost on me. I also don't gobble gobble gobble when I am taking Communion!
Is Communion something that helps you connect with God and what Jesus did for you?
Have you become numb to what Communion actually means because it has become routine for you?
What state do you enter into Communion when it is time for you to receive the sacraments?