One of the most meaningful activities we do together is take communion. Through communion, we remember the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, our Savior – who died on the cross to rescue us from darkness, sin, and death (1 Cor. 11:23-26). By it, we remember that our Lord became “flesh” (John 1) and “lived among us” (John 1:14). And by it, we also remember that our Lord came to die for us that we could be called “children of God” (1 John 3:1).
As we are gathering online, we have decided to “fast” from communion. We believe that communion was meant to be celebrated together, as we gather together. The work of the cross is FOR all, FOR broken humanity, FOR our sin, and FOR the redemption of all. The meaningfulness of communion is not just in remembrance, but in remembrance together. The Apostle Paul talks extensively about communion in 1 Cor. 11, and he begins this section with “when you come together as a church…” (vv. 18, 20). His imagination for communion is that it is communal.
In short, we are going to wait to take communion until we are together. When we are together and we are able to take communion, it will be an occasion of great rejoicing! Did you know that communion in the early church was not a serious, somber affair? It was joyous! I can’t wait to see you all and I can’t wait to take communion with you. But I want to wait to do it together.
As we’ve surveyed churches across the country (and across the world), we’ve been surprised to find that most churches are adopting this stance. They are fasting, as we are, from communion and are eagerly, as we are, looking forward to the day when we’re back in our church together.
As we fast, please remember that communion does not cleanse you. The work of Jesus does. As 1 John 1:7 tells us,
“But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin.”
It’s the blood of Jesus, his saving work on the cross that makes us right before God. It’s our faith in Him and our belief in His death and resurrection that makes us His daughters and sons. For those of us who miss communion because it’s an occasion to practice confession, perhaps consider praying through a pre-written prayer instead. Here is a good example:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
We will be exploring different ways of engaging with confession during our online services.
May the grace and peace of God be with you during this season,