Below is a simple explanation of what communion is, and how to participate together.
Here are a few tips:
What is Communion?
Communion is a practice given to us by Jesus during his passion week in which we eat a piece of bread, and drink wine or juice, together. It is meant to be practiced by Jesus followers everywhere. It is also known as the Lord’s Table or the Eucharist. You can read about Jesus leading his disciples in this practice after their Passover meal in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, or Luke 22:18-20. The Apostle Paul also recounts it in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
What does Communion mean?
Simply, Communion is a symbol of participation in Jesus’ vicarious and substitutionary death. Jesus lived our life, and died our death, and was raised to new life, and now we have life with God “in Christ." He said the bread represents His body, sacrificed for us. He said the juice or wine represents His blood, which is poured out for the forgiveness of our sins (Matt 26:26-29). Even the act of ingesting it has significance, in that we are taking Jesus’ work into our very being, and so we are reminded of what He did for us, recognizing our participation in His death, and also Life, and renewing our love and commitment to Him. Not necessarily, but normally, we take it together as a group to remind ourselves that our unity, and the very core of our bond together as Jesus followers, is Jesus and what He has done for us.
How is Communion Taken?
When taken with trust in Jesus, there is no “wrong” way to take it. It is not “how” it is taken that makes it significant, it is what it symbolizes. Therefore, a wafer is not needed, nor unleavened bread, nor a specific wine from the 1st century, or something else special. You can be alone, or together with others; many words can be said, or few. You can take it yourself, or be served by another. The elements (bread, wine or juice) nor the hands that serve it (yours or another) can spoil it or sanctify it. It is Jesus, and His work for us, and our trust in Him, which makes it meaningful.
So, How should I lead it?
If you’re joining at home and following along online, the various elements will be led virtually; if you are leading at another time, normally these pieces are incorporated:
- Worship - Recognize God for who He is - you could start by reading a Psalm, such as Psalm 16 or 34.
- Confession - As we see God rightly, we see ourselves, and we realize we need him desperately, for on our own we stray from Him - you could pray silently or out loud your confession before God.
- Assurance - 1 John 1:9 says, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgiveness our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a promise! Praise God for the His magnificent truth & grace!
- Eat the bread, Jesus’ body broken for us. You can say, “Jesus said, 'this is my body, broken for you - do this in remembrance of me’.” And then drink the wine or juice, saying, “Jesus said, ’this is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins - do this in remembrance of me’."
- Praise God! Jesus, by his life, death and resurrection, has secured life for us with God, now and forever!