The Table of Grace
1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-29
By Pastor Rachel
Holy communion is one of the two great sacraments of Christianity (the other is baptism). Have you ever thought about why we celebrate it? Is it still significant in today’s church?
1. Holy Communion rooted in history
To understand holy communion, we need to look back both the Old Testament and the Lord’s supper in the New Testament. The historical setting of communion is to remember the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Jesus instituted the holy communion as part of celebration for Passover (see Luke 22:14-15; Exodus 12:17), and commanded us to do it “as a remembrance” of the deliverance from death and sin.
2. Symbols: bread and wine
The two elements of holy communion—bread and the fruit of the vine—commemorate the suffering and death of Lord Jesus Christ and symbolise us sharing his divine nature. The bread is a symbol of Christ’s body that was broken and given for us so that we could have life. The fruit of the vine symbolises Christ as the source of life, and how he was crushed and spilled his blood for our sins.
3. Meaning of Holy Communion
What are the implications of holy communion to us today? First, it reminds us of the sacrifices Jesus made and the new covenant God made with us at Calvary that we have a new living relationship with Him through the body broken and the blood shed. The holy communion also means fellowship with the Lord and with each other, and is a prophecy of His coming again.
4. The fourfold action
In Luke 22:18, Jesus takes, gives thanks, breaks/pours and gives the bread and wine to his disciples. Christ gave the traditional actions at every Hebrew table a new significance by stating that the bread was his body and the wine his blood. Today, we follow Jesus’ command and commemorate the fourfold action in our holy communion.
5. Communion requirements
Communion is more than a religious tradition. It is a gateway into the presence of God. It holds the promise of cleansing, healing, intimacy and fellowship. Before partaking the communion, one should examine himself/herself and acknowledge that what they are about to take is the body and blood of Christ. As the church’s tradition, the holy communion is for the baptised only, which is to be respected.