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What is Communion?

Saying by doing

All of us use actions to speak louder than words 'the pat on the back that says 'well done', the hand-shake to say 'it's done', a hug that says 'I love you'. We also have special meals to say 'happy birthday' or to celebrate a marriage because meals are the best way of celebrating something special together. Communion is a special meal to celebrate not just by saying but by doing.

The Last Supper ' The last shall be first!

Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his friends in Jerusalem as any Jew would at that time of year. The Gospels record this event known as 'The Last Supper'. In Mark 14: 12-26 we see some of the symbolic foods and actions that comprised this meal. Four cups of drink were shared by the host during the meal accompanied by various readings and prayers. Between these cups, different foods were eaten to symbolise the Exodus events that this meal remembered ' bitter herbs for bitter slavery in Egypt; a Lamb which was slaughtered and eaten on the night when the Angel of death passed over the houses with the lamb's blood on the door posts; unleavened bread for the rushed departure from Egypt with no time even to let the dough rise.

Jesus, as host, took the unleavened bread and blessed it and broke it as was customary. But then he said something that would have silenced the most lively party ' "Take, this is my body!" The bread that symbolised the exodus departure from Egypt is now given new meaning. As the meal continued and the Passover lamb was served, the Disciples recovered from this shock, only to get another. Jesus took the third cup, known as the 'Cup of Thanksgiving' and gave thanks and they drank from it. Then Jesus said "This is my blood!" No Jew would ever dream of drinking blood as the life of the animal was in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). It was to make atonement not to drink. But Jesus gave the wine this radical new meaning.

Jesus continued to shock the Disciples by singing the closing hymn without drinking the fourth 'cup of consummation'. They left a rather confused bunch!

None of this made sense until a few days later when they saw their Lord's body being broken in crucifixion and his blood splattering on the ground. Jesus was the 'Passover lamb' (1 Corinthians 5:7), who was sacrificed for their Exodus out of slavery to sin. Through his broken body and poured out blood, they could be saved and freed. Only when he had fully paid for sins did he drink the fourth cup, crying out; "It is consummated" (John 19:29). Jesus gave a special meal to remember these special Truths. The last supper was the first of many Lord's Suppers.

If the Passover was a meal of thanksgiving and celebration - the Lord's Supper is even more so!

Eleanor Kreider describes it as "A Joyful celebration of God's people around a table, remembering and meeting their Lord, who is host and guest!"

So lets Remember, Celebrate and Proclaim until He comes!