Monday, October 15, 2007

Excited to Break Bread?!?!

First of all, I've decided to stop calling the breaking of bread 'communion', since it's not really Biblical and sounds religious. Second of all, I'm not sure you all know or remember the issues I was having with the breaking of bread a while back, so if you care feel free to have a look at some of my other posts on this topic to provide context. Here's the main one: Communion...Meaningless???

Well we listened to a great sermon that actually changed me whole perspective on the breaking of bread and made me excited to think about the implications of the whole thing having very real and significant meaning. Even more, it actually accomplishes something in the spiritual realm--it's not just a sentimental ritual. (The Awesome Annointing Over the Breaking of Bread, May 6th 2007 Rob Rufus City Church International Hong Kong)

So yesterday I was visiting a church and they broke bread at the end of the service in the typical church way; everyone came forward to get their little plastic cup and little piece of bread in a serious thoughtful manner after contemplating whether they were worthy based on whether they had any unconfessed sin coming between them and God or them and a brother/sister. Can anyone related to this? Does it sound familiar?

It all fell into place for me in a way it hadn't before. It was all wrong! Our sin doesn't come between us and our Father exactly because of the one we are remembering when we break bread. I remembered Hebrews 10 that tells us it was the Old Covenant sacrifices that remind us of sin, not the perfect once for all sacrifice of Jesus. I wanted to shout out a loud Whooo-HOOOOO because while we were being encouraged to judge ourselves and our worthiness according to our sin or lack of sin (or whether we had confessed our sin and asked for forgiveness) God was freshly reminding me that there is no judgement left for me! Every sin that I will ever commit has already been put on the body of Christ and broken forever, and his blood has been poured out and has taken it all completely away. This is what we should be remembering when we break bread. We should be recognizing the Lord's body, judging ourselves truly forgiven and new, perfect in obedience because we identify with the Lord's body and blood instead of our own flesh. To eat without recognizing the Lord's body for whatever reason is to eat in an unworthy manner.

And so with great joy I received my cup and my bread because the answer to all my problems didn't lie in the particular method we use, but in understanding what exactly we are supposed to be remembering...

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment." (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

***I just want to note that I'm not trying to judge the church I happened to be visiting. They are doing what is normal and the only way I've ever known 'communion' to be done. Just sharing my personal journey...

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