Some Radical Thoughts on Holy Communion

by Lynn "lynnibug" Rios on April 28th, 2015
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I want to share some thoughts with you on something near and dear to my heart…

Holy Communion

Holy CommunionFrom the account in Luke… “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had 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.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

I have attended and received Communion in churches of many denominations, and there is no shortage of opinions. Opinions about who is eligible to receive, opinions about whether it is a representation or miraculously becomes the actual body and blood of Christ when we partake, and opinions about how often one should receive the elements…. And guess what… I have a rather radical opinion of my own, but I will spring that on you a little later.

It is the phrase “do this in remembrance of me” in Luke 22:14-20 (in most bible versions*) that is interpreted as Jesus giving his followers the instruction to institute a ceremony of sharing bread and wine as a community to acknowledge and celebrate His great sacrifice. The accounts in Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-25, and John 13 do not reference a lasting instruction, simply the words and actions of Jesus sharing the bread and wine with His disciples that night.

Later interpretations of the events in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 entrenched the ceremonial aspect of Holy Communion into our Christian culture, but is that what Jesus really intended?

I often say I aspire to the religion of Jesus rather than the ones about Him. I take the word at face value and seek the truth beyond the common interpretation. When I was first introduced to this passage as a thirty-something babe Christian, it spoke to me, and reflecting on these passages from my Jewish perspective, I see something that happens every day in an observant Jewish home.

As any Jewish man would have done, Jesus blessed the bread that night, likely with the traditional Jewish/Hebrew blessing, “Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, hamotzi lehem min ha’aretz”, and broke it into pieces and passed a piece to everyone at the table in the traditional manner. Then he blessed the wine, also in the traditional way saying, “Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha’olam, bo’re p’ri hagafen”, then passed the cup in the traditional manner for everyone to sip from the cup that had been blessed. The only thing that was out of the ordinary is what he said – the bread was His body and the wine was His blood – and in the Luke version, a call to remembrance is added.

So here comes my opinion…  I do not believe it was Jesus’ intention to institute a Holy Communion “ceremony” at all.

I believe His intention was to weave Himself into every aspect of our lives to keep us faithful and strong. Jesus asked His disciples to remember Him in 2 simple acts, the acts they had always performed before every meal. He was in essence saying REMEMBER ME, every time you eat or drink REMEMBER ME and what I sacrifice. With every bite of bread remember my broken body, with every sip of wine remember my shed blood. If we do that, then we will be in Him and He will be in us always! Temptation will give way to victory on every level!

Blessings & Adventure,

Lynn “lynnibug” Rios

*The English Standard Version I referenced did not even include this phrase in the Luke passage…hmmmm.

Categories: Digging Deeper for Wisdom, History, My Personal Journey, Wisdom Journeys

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