One of my most memorable Communion times was sitting with my family circled in our campsite at Yosemite National Park. The day before, a number of us had caught our limits of trout. Half Dome was visible, the morning sun was warming us up, and we were rejoicing in our family vacation time on the Lord’s Day.
Before we communed, my father invited each of us to share a verse of Scripture or some event wherein we had felt the touch of a loving God. Each of our children shared briefly, as did my wife and I. It was a sentimental and reflective time of warmth and love.
I will always remember my wife’s father as he began to share. He was in his late 70s, and he became overwhelmed with God’s goodness as he started to speak. He soon grew silent with his chin quivering, and it was obvious that he was not going to be able to get it out. His silence and tears spoke volumes to me concerning the sincerity and depth of emotion and gratitude he was feeling for the Lord and family.
As that picture is riveted in my mind after the passing of some 25 years, I feel it represents God’s heart for us as we approach him in Communion. We come to him as family, not because of what we have done, but because we have been born into his family through the shed blood of Jesus. God’s family is strangely warmed by his Presence. Gratitude and praise flow from our lips, at times choking back the tears of appreciation for the privilege of sharing in God’s eternal family.
It is not only an eternal family, linking together all who have gone before us, and those yet unborn, but it is a global family. Communion connects every tribe and tongue and nation every week as we share in his broken body and shed blood around the table. Where we were born is not important. The language we speak makes no difference. It is only important that we are born into God’s family where the universal language is love. Communion unites us forever in his love!
Bryce Jessup is president emeritus of William Jessup University, Rocklin, California.