As a child, I was mesmerized by Communion. I was told that I needed to be older and grow to understand what it really meant before I could partake in what I deemed to be the most exquisite service. I so wanted to be a part of what the adults were doing! It seemed sacred and reverent even before I understood what the words meant. I couldn’t wait to become a grown-up so I could participate in Communion. I didn’t yet know what it meant; I didn’t yet personally know of the Christ it professed, and yet somehow I knew it would be a singular experience.
Next to baptism, Communion remains my favorite service in spiritual life. Each time I’m filled with a sense of awe and gratitude for what Christ has done for me, and for all of us. My favorite place to be at Sligo during Communion is up front, looking out at the congregation. It is most moving to see us all united in one experience, despite our various backgrounds, views, and convictions. During this service, we all collectively and emphatically live out the community Christ died to make us; with Him and with each other.
It is profound to see the expressions in the congregation during Communion - surrender, joy, happiness, peace, release, and gratitude among others. Each occurrence of Communion is marked with the same extraordinary sense of Divine wonder. It is as if in those moments, nothing else matters; all that seems to matter is what our Lord has lovingly done for us individually and corporately.
Often, I see eyes are moistened or even flowing with tears; I see smiles that are broad, brows furrowed with thankful disbelief that Christ could be so loving as to shed His own blood for us. I see hope spring; I see cultural divisions abate; I see men, women, and children holding hands, not united by human birth but by Divine blood. It is my favorite sight at Sligo Church.
Communion is a symbolic gesture of our partaking in Christ’s death, resurrection, and new life. Communion reminds us that the Word who created the world not only became flesh, but became broken bread and poured out wine for my sake and yours. He gave us a way out where there was none. He made His own body the bridge between heaven and earth.
Even now, as an adult, Communion fills me with the same child-like amazement it did all those years ago. But now, I understand the meaning behind the gesture, the truth behind the action, the love behind the elements. I see a God who hung on the cross but is no more there. He is preparing a place for us, where one day we will sit around a table together with Him, to partake of this deepest symbol of the Christian experience.
As we approach the Communion service this Sabbath, I’m filled with a deep sense of relief knowing that this service signifies that we will never be alone or forsaken; we will never have to face the ultimate consequence of our sinful natures; we will always have a God in heaven who is on our side; we will always be loved, forgiven, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.