A young woman visited a service and was surprised by how Communion was served. The elements representing Jesus’ body and blood were placed on tables around the perimeter of the room, and worshippers got out of their seats and walked to one of the tables.
Some people ate the bread and drank the juice right at the tables. Some took the elements back to their seats for reflection and prayer. Some people stayed seated and prayed awhile before they went to one of the tables. Still others picked up the bread and juice and then gathered as couples, families, or groups of friends to pray and share Communion together.
The young woman found herself watching the scene, entranced. It’s a beautiful sight, she thought, everyone in the body remembering Christ.
The Bible says Christians are the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23). Around the world we’re his body, and right here today, in this room, we are too:
The people we like and the people we don’t like so much.
People we admire . . . and people who “just don’t get it”—whatever our particular “it” is.
People who are healthy and people who are sick.
People who are doing well and people who are struggling.
People who are new here and people who are always here.
Young people and old people.
People like me, and people like you, here, today.
The apostle Paul wrote that we need to recognize the body of the Lord during Communion (1 Corinthians 11:29). The Christians he wrote to were having a hard time with that. They gathered for a meal together before Communion, but not everyone got to eat—some in the church who were quite poor came without any food, and no one was sharing with them. Paul said the people in that church needed to really see one another in order to see the body and blood of Christ during Communion. How we relate to one another is that important! In fact, Hebrews 12:15 says, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God” (New Living Translation).
Maybe during Communion today we could lift our heads and open our eyes and look around at each other for a minute.
Because Jesus didn’t die just for you or just for me. He died for us.
Diane Stortz is a freelance editor and the author of A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year (Bethany House), which will be available in January. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.