Broken Bread and Poured Out Wine

By drewSeptember 2nd, 2010Blog, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
Grapes-Communion

Broken Bread And Poured Out Wine

I love learning about history – going to places built by our forefathers, or even just engaging in Discovery Channel shows about a war or invention from long ago. The specifics don’t really matter to me. I just love seeing where we’ve come from and trying to imagine what it must have been like back in that time, whenever it was.

My wife and I live in Franklin, TN and there’s a lot of Civil War history here. Around every corner is an antique shop with Civil War era relics and treasures. I love seeing old remnants of the soldier’s uniforms and weapons. I stare and wonder what that soldier was like, what life must have been for him. There’s just something interesting to me about the fact that others have gone before us, to fight for our freedom, to build a great nation, or to raise the family in which I can trace my heritage.

A few years ago my wife and I were with my 93 year old grandmother looking through her pictures, complete with horse and buggy and frowning ancestors (I’ve always wondered why turn-of-the-century folks didn’t smile much). As I looked through these old pictures I couldn’t help asking myself “what in the world do I have in common with these people?” My only reasonable answer was blood. They’re my relatives. These were my people. As I begin to think of them as family, they didn’t just look like people in an old photo anymore. I found myself wondering about their lives and their families and their faith.

Sometimes I think we need to remember that as believers, others have gone before us. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. Amazing, passionate men and women have led the way for us so that we could be who we are today as the church. Why is it that we so rarely think of them? I guess we’re too busy with tomorrow to think about yesterday but sometimes I think it’s a great and important thing to do.

There are a lot of ways to draw from and remember the past. We can sing hymns and tell the stories of the amazing and colorful writers who gave us such melodic theology and beautiful music. We can read their biographies or examine their artwork. But my favorite thing to do as a believer is to remember those who’ve gone before by taking communion. When we read those words of Christ saying “Do this in remembrance of me”, I begin to try and wrap my brain around all those followers of Christ who read that same scripture and then were obedient to the Lord by observing the elements. Think of all the styles of churches both in faith and construction as well as generation after generation of believers following this commandment. I’m sure it looked quite different from one country to the next, different languages and methods but all with the desire to be obedient to Christ and to follow His example in remembering His death.

“Communion” speaks of two different types of remembering. One is personal – thinking of how the Lord has redeemed you and given you grace and mercy, that in His goodness you recognize that He has forgiven you and given you life. But the Bible also uses words and phrases like “we” and “together”. Many of those scriptures are talking about our collective remembrance of Christ and the price He paid for His church.

For me, it helps to know that I’m not alone in this journey. My community is not the first one to struggle with issues of faith and living for Christ but that I’m joined by a cloud of believers around the world dating back to Passover, up to the Last Supper, continuing all the way to today and well into tomorrow. It reminds me that I’m stronger for being a part of this family of faith, blessed to continue the journey that so many have started before me. As I look around the sanctuary, I am reminded that Christ and His death as well as the faith of our fathers are what we all have in common. The blood.

I encourage you to gather your worship team, your staff, your wife and children, your small group, whatever, and take communion truly as a family. You won’t believe the difference it will make in your worship. Worship was meant to be offered in community and communion is meant to be a fabulous expression of it. Don’t just rush through. Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and convict us, to bring to our minds the very real and transforming moments of Christ’s grace over us. You might want to incorporate a hymn to help drive home the practice of remembrance. Encourage each other, and remember that you’re not alone but carrying on a tradition of faith thousands of years old.

Broken Bread And Poured Out Wine

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