Re: communion 8/9


In my ministry context, the re:newing of Communion to a central role in the life of the church is a necessary component of any plan of spiritual formation for the young adults of Brentview Baptist. God desires to meet with us not just in the cerebral preaching of the Word but also in the tangible symbol of his Table.[1]  It is on this Table of sacrifice that his anointing and blessing are poured out for us and on us.  For this reason Vander Zee points out that “Jesus wants us to receive the bread and wine, which are his body and blood, as powerful symbols that carry with them the redeeming power of his death and resurrection that bring us to eternal life, and as a personal confirmation of his presence among us.”[2]  Continuing, Vander Zee suggests that “eating Jesus’ body and drinking his blood is the most vivid imaginable way of being both participants and beneficiaries of his death on the cross and the resurrection by which it won the victory over sin and death.”[3]

Naturally, then, the practice of Communion will have to be re:formed.  The funeral march at the end of the service with the most meager of memorial snack foods must come to an end.  The feast of re:pentant celebration must begin.  Biblically, as noted above, and historically such an approach has merit.  Vander Zee suggests that “the likely setting of the Lord’s Supper in the early church is an agape feast, a church potluck if you will, to which all were invited on a Sunday.”[4]  And Kreider suggests that church communities today “can be set free to transform and shape our everyday lives” through a re:discovered practice of true Communion.[5]  As Eugene Peterson says, the Lord’s Supper “is the definitive action practiced in the Christian community that keeps Jesus Christ before us as the Savior of the world and our Savior, and ourselves as sinners in need of being saved.”[6]   And so it follows that by this action followers of Jesus will be re:oriented with deeper passion for God and for one another.  Kreider says that such spiritual formation will occur “when the Lord’s Supper, graced by God’s presence and Word, oriented to the living Lord and empowered by the Spirit, is fully restored to the place it had in the early centuries- as the central communal Christian act of worship.”[7]

[1] Vander Zee adds: “We begin to see that preaching and sacrament are different mediums of communication of the same Word, both of which are essential.” Vander Zee, 191.

[2] Ibid., 153.

[3] Ibid., 153.

[4] Ibid., 157.

[5] Kreider, 15.

[6] Peterson, Eugene, 203.

[7] Kreider, 15.

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