Losing the Significance of Communion

I remember the first time I  flew on a plane.  I was nervous and excited all at the same time.  My brother and I argued over who got to sit by the window.  As we settled in I paid close attention to everything the steward said.  It was agonizing as we waited for everyone to get to their seats.  Finally the moment came where we backed away from the gate.  My heart was racing.  My mind full of so many questions about the mechanics that can make this huge piece of metal fly.  We turned onto the runway and I leaned forward in my seat to watch the ground rush past.  Then it happened.  We began slowly climbed skyward until cars on the ground looked like ants and we disappeared into the clouds.  20 years and countless flights later flying isn’t quite as magical.  Now rather than marvel in the engineering genius of Orville and Wilbur Wright, I’m arguing with the airline steward about how turning off your smart phone affects the flight instruments in the cockpit.  How special the event actually is has been lost.  And I feel that the experience of communion is very similar.

It seems like every special Christian event ends with a communion service.  Week of prayer for a youth group.  Church mission trips.  Revivals.  And as with many things the more frequently you do it, the less meaningful it is.  Communion is something we do to mark a special moment and to bring added significance to a Christian event.  It almost seems like a requirement now.  If you don’t do communion people are confused.  But that wasn’t the purpose for what prior to Jesus was simply the Passover.  The passover for Jews is full of reflection and meaning.  Every part of the process is maticulously crafted to relive and retell a defining moment in the lives of Jewish culture.  It’s not something they take lightly.  And as we “Do this in remembrance of me (Jesus)” we shouldn’t take it lightly either.

Jesus says “I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom comes”. (Luke 22:18)  What if after graduating from High School your class decided that none of you would eat pizza  until you were all together again.  How many of us would still not have pizza 5, 10, or 20 years later?  The fact that he says he will not do that again until he is with us in God’s Kingdom should be mind-blowing.  Our Lord and Savior, is continually sacrificing until he can be with you and me again.  As if the scars he sees every time he washes his hands aren’t enough to remind him.

The significance of communion shouldn’t be lost to us because of repetition anymore than the significance of visiting the grave of a loved one should be less meaningful. In that moment you should be overcome with the love you feel.  The grace that is poured out for you.  And the blessing you receive in relishing in those thoughts.

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