Monday, October 27, 2008


I wanted to ask everyone what Communion means to them. Yesterday was the first time I've ever experienced it. Actually, I take that back, when I was a child I remember going to church with friends and getting bread and grape juice in little cups, but to say I participated in Communion then would be a stretch. I understand the basic idea that we do this ritual to remember Christ and what he did for us, but I'm sure that's not all there is. As a relative newbie to Christianity the experience was exhilarating but I'm ashamed to admit it also felt a little weird, and I want to understand it better


rsurls1 said...

Matt for me, as with many other aspects of my journey with God, communion and it's meaning have changed in the last few years. It used to be a somber ritual for me, led by clergy that often left me feeling "less than" after it was over. I focused on my failures and shortcomings (which are many)in comparison to what Jesus had done for me. This all started to change a couple of years ago when we held a Seder dinner in my basement. A seder is the passover meal that the Jews celebrate in memory of their delivery from slavery in Egypt. This is the celebration meal that Jesus held with His disciples in the upper room. If you are familiar with the order of the seder, the wine and breaking of bread make perfect sense, both looking back and looking forward. I choose now to view this time of communion, as a festive communal meal with others, the early church called it a "love feast" and it was a celebration of joy. I too have been set free from slavery and have reason to celebrate.

Yard said...

I would say the awkwardness you felt was due to poor facilitation, but I won't give myself that much credit. And I'm only half sorry that your first adult communion experience was ours together on Sunday.

The Eucharist has been a form of division for centuries. It takes all different forms in most every denomination. This is tragic.

This, like many other acts of worship, has always seemed to create tension for me. I don't quite know how to act or feel during a meeting with the present-yet-not-visible, holy-yet-not-unreachable, all-knowing God. I think we've been taught that there should be silent reverence, and so that's what I've always gravitated towards.

I think Randy's onto something here. (btw - missed seeing you on Sunday Randy!) I've mentioned this before, but I think communion needs to be less ritual and more meaning. And I believe our community has the ability to retain the symbols and yet also return to closer of what Jesus may have intended. Remember, Jesus had a meal between that bread and wine! And this was an eagerly awaited (Lk 22:15) Passover meal.

I'm not sure how to remove the awkward and yet retain the purpose. And don't get me wrong, I think there is a time and place for quiet humility. I'm just not sure it's when we're all at the family table. I guess all this to say, I feel the same way you do, Matt.

Matt said...

Don't beat yourself up Jacob. As I've thought about the awkwardness I feel that it is partially due to stepping out of my comfort zone. Over the past couple of years I've realized that I often come to points where I can choose to stay where I am or move forward, and I admit often times I stay where I am. I would much rather deal with these "awkward", uncomfortable moments with a community than alone. I feel like ED is one of the rare places where I can take my first communion and then be honest about how it made me feel, and then ask what it all means. Please don't take this post as a critique of how it was handled. I just love the conversations we have and 2 hours every 2 weeks isn't enough for me, so I blog.

Thorn-67 said...

I really appreciate having the opportunity to share communion with all of you. While we may not have a 'groove' to it exactly...I still find it something I'd prefer to hang on to rather than allow to fall away...
I see the elements of communion as significant tangible components to our exilic roots...For me the act of taking communion is conjoining...It brings me closer to God in some way I'll never completely understand connects me to the greater story of one of our earliest memories as a 'church'.
How to do it? When to do it? Where to do it? Meal or elements only? hmmmm. Lets experiment with that part. Personally, I like the act of intinction, dipping the bread into the wine for no other reason than it is simple and easily facilitated in a larger group setting.

Jimbo said...

To what Joy said, I'd also add that it joins us together. I have been to churches which place the elements in back and you are just to slip back there on your own to partake. This didn't seem right to me.
When we share it together, it is something that draws us together. At that point, we are all agreeing that there is something significant to these elements (bread and wine) and taking them together. I don't really understand the significance of the elements or taking them, so I wonder if there isn't supposed to be alot of mystery around this as well.

zride17 said...

For those of us that like energy drinks, and did communion a lot as a child, the grape juice flavor of Monster is such a blast to the past. I had some last week and felt compelled to pray. Odd, but wonderful experience.

Debbie said...

Good discussion so far… Matt, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Jacob you did a great job last Sunday. Thank you for leading us in communion.

Like Jacob I was taught communion should be a somber event. A time when we confess our sins, remember how Jesus suffered and quietly contemplate all He has done. (Ironically when doing all that I tend to focus more on me, not Jesus.) At times yes, a quiet form of remembrance is appropriate.

But not always!

‘Cause Communion is a Celebration!

Celebration of new life and new beginnings! Celebration of grace and mercy! Celebration of family and blessings!

And because Jesus sets the example of the communion feast as fellowship we now celebrate communion as a family! That is what we did last Sunday… as a family of believers… we celebrated!

A book I’ve read called “Space for God” offers the suggestion of celebrating by toasting Jesus. I need to find the specific section of the book as the author is quite eloquent but in essence, he suggests that at the communion celebration, when we take the cup, we should hold it high in celebration & remembrance. “Cheers to Jehovah!”

Now wouldn’t that be an incredible act of worship… to stand and toast our Lord!?!?

Jim speaks of mystery. Jacob mentions meaning. Joy feels more connected through the act of communion. Agreed!

Matt…. Welcome to the sometimes awkward but meaningful act of celebration communion; a shared celebration connecting us, as believers, to one another in the inviting & intriguing mystery only found in God. Cheers to Jehovah

maventheavenger aka jamie said...

I once went to an Episcopal church and took communion there. It was the first time that I felt a sensation of community. I didn't know anyone there, but I knew a lot of the others were probably my neighbors. We walked to the front of the church, knelt down, and one of the lay pastors(?) people(?) gave us a wafer then another brought a chalice from which we drank. I felt truly like this is what communion must've felt like for hundreds of years. The strange nature of kneeling beside a neighbor in honor of the King.

But I like the celebration ideas too. :)

maventheavenger aka jamie said...

And Randy shouldn't ditch anymore.