1 Corinthians 10:16 — Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?
I would like to meditate in the next few days — briefly and incompletely and insufficiently — on the Lord’s Supper. Basically, in my church experience, the ordinances have not played a significant role. My home church grew out of a Christian/Church of Christ background (it’s very different from that now), and maybe that played a part in the downplaying. Or maybe it’s just a function of the Evangelical malaise surrounding this issue.
Baptism was an issue of obedience. I knew that, and I knew I ought not to enter into it lightly. I was baptized at 15, and I’m fairly certain I was converted. I look back, and my understanding of conversion differs now (and I certainly wouldn’t have used that vocabulary then) — I don’t know when God saved me, exactly. But I’m not certain, and so I believe I was baptized as a believer.
The Lord’s Supper (i.e. “communion”), however, was a clouded thing for me. I only knew that you had to be a Christian to take it. So I did, every week. When they passed the trays I would take it, and that was that.
I have a good friend, Matt, who was also baptized around 15 or 16, whose mom wouldn’t allow him to take the Supper prior to his baptism. Another friend and I were talking about that on the day of Matt’s baptism. He mentioned that Matt’s mom wouldn’t let him take communion, because he hadn’t been baptized. We both, literally, said, “That’s wierd.” I remember thinking — “That must some sort of semi-cultic thing or something.”
So my understanding of the Supper was deficient.
Another quick anecdote: I was visiting a friend in the boonies of Northern Central California. His grandfather(who had R.C. Sproul books on his shelf) pastored a small, mountain church. The Sunday we were there visiting, the sermon was on communion.
I remember him saying: We Protestants don’t believe that Christ is physically present in the elements. But something mysterious happens during communion.
I didn’t understand that.
That’s part of where I’m coming from. I’ve never understood the Supper. It’s never been a big deal — and in the last few years, I’ve grown anxious about it.
What actually happens when I eat that bread and drink that juice?
I plan on looking at this more in the next few days.