the weblog of Alan Knox

Another serving of the Lord’s Supper

Posted by on Aug 28, 2007 in community, fellowship, ordinances/sacraments | 3 comments

I’ve discussed the Lord’s Supper (Communion, Eucharist, the Lord’s Table) previously (see the posts “The Lord’s Supper as a Meal“,”The Lord’s Supper (One Example)“, “When the Lord’s Supper divides“, “One Bread“, “The Lord’s Supper“, and just for fun “What did I learn in church about the Lord’s Supper?“). A comment and a post have caused me to think about this subject again.

Recently, Jeff posted a comment on an old post of mine called “The Lord’s Supper as a Meal“. He said:

What Jesus and His disciples were observing in that guest room appears to be the Passover. The slaughtered lamb used to observe the Passover was a symbol of Christ, the Lamb of God. They, like us, were spared by the blood of the lamb…

The Jews were to do this [Passover] in remembrance: Exodus 12:14 – Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it {as} a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it {as} a permanent ordinance.

The disciples were to do this in remembrance: Luke 22:19 – And when He had taken {some} bread {and} given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

So my questions are: Was Jesus telling His disciples to continue the Passover after He was gone? Wouldn’t this be considered old wine? It doesn’t fit the character of Jesus to fulfill all rituals and then immediately set up another one. But He was telling them to do something in remembrance of Him. Could it be that Jesus knew humans needed to do two things to survive?(other than breathe) Eat and drink. The two things we must do often…

So could the, “do this in remembrance of me”, be referring to every time we personally eat or drink anything? Basically remembering Him every day often till we die. We know the members of the body got together frequently to fellowship and eat. Did they practice a ritual or for that matter set aside a specific meal to remember the sacrifice Jesus made? Where does 1 Corinthians 11 fit? Is Paul even talking about a literal bread and cup?

The question of the relative importance of the elements (bread and cup) to the entire meal is an important question, but one that will probably not be answered. There are several times in Scripture where the elements are mentioned, but this mention is always in the concept of an entire meal. Were the elements separate from the meal, or representative of the entire meal?

We may never answer this question. However, Jeff brings out something else that we should consider carefully. Eating a meal was at least part of the Lord’s Supper. And, eating a meal is a natural, everyday occurrence in the life of every person. Remembering Jesus’ body and blood should affect every meal that we eat, and thus, should affect our natural, everyday life.

Similarly, Jim from “BaldJim” (he named his blog, I didn’t) talked about the Lord’s Supper in a post called “This is the Body of Christ“. I’m going to quote his short post in its entirety here:

A few weeks ago, when our church took communion, I was struck with wonder by the fact that we, God’s people, are the Body of Christ.

Typically when taking communion people close their eyes and put their heads down, meditating on the love and sacrifice of Jesus, searching their hearts for sin that needs to be purged. While I do meditate on and rejoice in the great love of Christ displayed in His sacrifice, I also spend some time looking around at others in the congregation. I want to rejoice with them. I want us to share in the joy we have.

As I looked around at others in the congregation I got a glimpse of the strange beauty of the Body of Christ, the Church. All of us weak in faith, broken, hurting. Each of us having our own faults and failures and sins. It doesn’t look like what you might expect to be called the Body of Christ… which is what makes it so wonderful.

Broken but bought by Christ’s blood. Sinners saved by His grace. Failures who have been set free. Unclean souls who have been covered by and clothed in Christ’s righteousness. This is the Body of Christ.

Take notice of this the next time you join others for the Lord’s Supper.

Have you looked around recently and gotten a “glimpse of the strange beauty of the Body of Christ, the Church”? The Lord’s Supper is the perfect time for taking others into account. In fact, it is during the Lord’s Supper more than at any other time that the Body of Christ should display its unity and its consideration of others.

Remember, when Paul wrote the the church in Corinth, he admonished them about the way they treated one another during the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:17-34). They were eating and drinking – apparently eating and drinking the elements as well – buy they were not truly taking the Lord’s Supper because they were not treating one another properly. They were not considering others as more important. They were not sharing with others who were in need.

An interesting note – at least to me – is that Paul does not mention their Christology in this passage. Paul had nothing to chastise them about in what they said about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He doesn’t bring up their baptism or their church membership. He never mentions whether or not they had attended their catechism classes. But, the way they treating other believers revealed that they did not understand Christ and his completed work on our behalf.

Perhaps this is why Jesus said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24 ESV) Apparently, the type of gift, the reason for the gift, etc. were less important to Jesus than the relationship between brothers.

This was Paul’s emphasis as well. We cannot partake of the Lord’s Supper – either the elements or the meal – if our relationship with our brother or sister is broken. Sure, we can eat, but if we cannot eat in unity with our brothers, then it is not the Lord’s Supper that we are eating.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-29-2007

    I often get a sweet perspective, because I’m usually playing the piano as the Lord’s Supper is being served. I can see the whole congregation as they receive, meditate, and partake. I am often overcome by how beautiful it is to see Christians in the unity of remembrance and participation in the body of Christ.

    Is this what it means when it says “discerning the body”? I’ve begun to take it that way.

    As to the full meal aspect, one pastor friend of mine had all the chairs taken out of their sanctuary one Sunday, set up tables, decked it out in gold and purple, with crystal and china, beautiful flowers, and gorgeous decoration. It was a picture of the wedding feast of the Lamb. The congregation was amazed as they celebrated the remembrance at the same time they looking forward to eternal fellowship. Afterward, they celebrated with music, dance, and proclamations of praise.

  2. 8-29-2007


    I think that is what “discerning the body” means. Do you think that others in the congregation are able to see the whole congregation as they receive, meditate, and partake? One of things that I’ve tried to do is the people to be able to see one another.


  3. 8-29-2007

    We actually do it several ways, since we’re once-a-week-ers. So sometimes it’s passed from member to member, sometimes the elders serve, sometimes we circle up so everybody can see each other.

    I sometimes get asked, “Do you do drama in your church?” I’m starting to respond that communion is a drama.