Communion is an activity that we partake in as a church several times a year. But there’s more at the heart of it than we may experience just watching someone eat a piece of bread and drink a small cup of juice. The significance of Communion comes from what it represents and how it helps us remember the core of our beliefs.
What is Communion?
Communion is a simple but deeply significant activity that was instituted by Jesus. It was originally part of a larger meal that became known as “the Lord’s Supper,” reminding us that Jesus is our host who invites us to enjoy being in his presence as we remember both his sacrificial death for our sins and the promise of his return. And that’s the key word when we share this special time with him—remember.
As we take the bread, we remember Jesus’ body that was given for us. And when we take the cup, we remember that Jesus bled and died to forgive our sins and provide for us a brand new relationship with the living God. In both cases, Jesus simply says, “Do this to remember me.” The apostle Paul then summed it up like this: “Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
What can be used as the bread and the cup?
There is nothing special about the bread or the cup (which contained wine) that were used in the early church. Rather, those elements were part of a normal meal, which were then used to symbolize the reality of Jesus’ death on our behalf. So when taking Communion, you can really use whatever you’d like.
However, the symbolism will perhaps be more vivid if you can use actual bread (rather than, say, a cracker), as Jesus referred to himself as “the bread of life.” And knowing that Jesus, in the very first Communion, took bread and broke it into pieces, you might want to do the same, drawing attention to how his body was broken for you.
Similarly, using red-colored juice or drink could better remind you of how Jesus bled and died for our sins. But, again, this is not a requirement—as long as you remember what the drink represents, you’re doing it right!
Who should take Communion?
Because Communion is a time to remember Jesus’ death for our sins and promise of eternal life, it makes sense to participate only if you are trusting him with your life and future.
However, if you are exploring a relationship with Jesus, this can be a particularly helpful time to grasp what Jesus has done for you, and how he longs for you to experience the freedom of forgiveness and a brand new relationship with God by trusting him. So while you would not take Communion, you could use the time to reflect on that truth.
To read what the New Testament says about Communion, see 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and Luke 22:14-23.
If you have more questions about Communion, or you just want to talk to someone more about what it means to trust Jesus, we’d love to talk with you. You can start by filling out this form to start the conversation.