What we call communion is the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper. Communion is the commemoration of the resurrection feast of joy and the high point of unity in Christian worship. The word Eucharist means to give thanks. When Jesus fed the multitude with the loaves and fish, He had them sit down and as He blessed the loaves, He eucharisted. The early church "continued in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Observance of the Lord's Supper lay at the very heart of divine worship. This was the principal act of the Sunday meetings, the most important event of the Lord's day. Paul preached to them upon the first day of the week and the disciples came together to break bread in remembrance of Jesus.

The Lord's supper was like America's Thanksgiving Day each week. In the early church there were two communions. The first communion was with the bread and wine in which they commune with the real and ever present Jesus. There were no church buildings at that time; usually the well to do members would offer their larger homes for the meetings. The elder or Bishop would imitate the Lord at the Last Supper and bless the bread and wine, then all present thankfully received the body and blood of which he had blessed; thus the congregation would become partakers of the Lord. This was at first a common meal in which every one brought their own food, but in time was substituted by the use of a small portion of bread and wine, or grape juice. The bread and wine has a very special meaning to Christians.

The second communion was called the Agape Feast or Love Feast where this brotherhood fellowship went beyond the spiritual communion into an economic and social communalism prompting souls to acts of charity. The partaking of food was in that they invited the poor. With sustenance on the one hand and a religious observance on the other, abuses soon crept in. The Agape feast, as lovely and desirable as it was lingered on for some generations but was soon forgotten.

Communion means to "come to union" The special purpose of the Holy Eucharist is to unite us to Jesus, the act of doing this simultaneously in the name of Jesus unites us to each other, and the head is joined to the members. The Lord's Supper symbolizes the unity that existed in the early church, but its sacramental qualities soon became a cause for division. Now it is merely a rite and just another reason to be off in your own little group, exclude the rest of the body and still receive the graces. The church kept the communion with Jesus and neglected the communion with each other and drew a line between the sacred and the secular. The Eucharist remained but the Agape was gone. The church will be restored but it must first put the Agape back into communion to be in order. There is no peace without unity. We have to speak together as one; Jesus won't come until we do.

To hold communion is to eat and drink together in the presence of Jesus. The Lord kept the Passover with His disciples in the Upper Room to fulfill the law. More than that, communion with Him looks toward the Wedding Supper that we will be eating and drinking in the last days. Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant by His observance of the Pasch and at the same time established the New Covenant with us. We entered into a new dimension of worship and fellowship with the spirit. Jesus was about to be sacrificed as the Passover Lamb. We are not only to observe the Lord's Supper, we are to be a part of it by being part of His sacrificed body. Jesus participated and finished the old ceremony that we might participate with Him and be a part of the new. To be a part of that communion and be unworthy of the graces brings condemnation upon the individual.

From here we look at the physical aspect of the Lord's supper and then the spiritual interpretation. When Jesus was here, He had His last supper and said that He "will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Mark 14:25. From there we see that when He appeared to the disciples and to hundreds of others after He rose again, He did eat and drink with us. These are physical things but we are to see Jesus in a spiritual light now, not in the natural. We worship Him in spirit and in truth. Whether this is physical presence or a spiritual one, it is real. The body is not the bread, the bread represents the body of believers of which we are. The wine is not the real blood, it represents the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.

Yes, the Communion is symbolic but the true symbolism has been lost. What the Protestant church has done is to make the symbolism a rite that forgets the coming to union. It has become a sacrament of grace that has power in mere participation of the rite. The power is in the unity involved and Protestantism by its very nature is resistant to communing outside of particular fellowships. Inter-denominationalism is a sham if the denominating influences are still there with particular doctrines that destroy unity. Different theologies and interpretations of scripture cannot all be correct. Not just Protestant sects but the Roman church and Orthodox share in the blame. Only when a sufficient remnant of each group repents of their biased and prideful ways and accept each other in the spirit as Jesus does will we truly be able to take the Lord's Supper rightly and the real presence of Jesus be shown.

When Paul talked about divisions in I Corinthians 11, he brought up the Lord's supper. He scolded them for taking the Lord's cup unworthily saying that they come together not for the better, but for the worse. Of course, then it was a real meal and they came to be fed but they forgot the real symbolism involved as to the unity of the body and speaking the same thing. Paul warns us that we should be accounted worthy to approach the table.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show the Lord's death until He come. Wherefore, whoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.
Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us to prepare: "Let none, then, approach this awesome table without reverent devotion and fervent love, without true repentance, or without recalling his redemption. For it is the Lamb without spot, without taint or smirch of sin, that is eaten in the unleavened bread. Approach not before the cleansing waters have poured over your soul; approach not without firm faith and burning charity."

The Roman church has come a long way toward the understanding of communion. It was a gross error for the Roman church to formerly forbid the blood of Jesus where the priest drinks the wine and the laity do not. This type of caste system arose from the fear that the laity might spill the "blood of God." What difference does it make who accidentally spills it? The wine in of itself is nothing, it is what it represents and what we are to remember when we do it. By making the real presence something that has to do with the bread or wine makes a precious sacrament into an ignorant superstition rather than the spiritual significance that it represents. What this has done is deny the majesty of God in the act of coming together. Jesus took the cup and said "Take this, and divide it among yourselves, drink ye, all of it." "This is the blood of my New Testament," Jesus would say to His disciples, "which is shed for many. Truly I say to you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Putting aside all the substantiation arguments we should at least agree on the real presence of Jesus in our communion with Him. Regardless of any metaphysical aspects as to the bread and the wine being the body and the blood, Jesus is here among us when we come together as a group. He doesn't let us down and He sure doesn't care if we take one side of this argument or not - He loves us anyway. Paul tells us what is really important. "I speak as to wise men, judge what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we brake, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread." I suppose that the breaking of the bread is necessary for all of us to partake. The spiritual body of Christ is the bread of the Lord's table but it is so fragmented that individual edification is diminished. It is the Bride of Christ that will be soon perfected that Jesus is coming for but it will not be a divided body but one that is whole. What the restoration will do is to gather the fragments of what is left over of the bread to the multitudes and by His spirit make it palatable enough for the rest of the world to digest.
[23, 27, 28, 115, 57, 120, 70, 293, Luke 22, John 6, I Corinthians 10, 11, 318, 323, 333, 356, 360, 12, 286, 418]

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