In a couple of weeks, we will be coming together as believers to participate in communion. While it doesn’t have “magical” powers, but we do put importance in the meaning of the elements, or.
What are symbols we have around us? The American flag can be seen as a strong symbol of our country. Road signs, mathematical symbols, wedding rings, the cross, sports logos, etc… They don’t mean anything in themselves, but relate back to something else that gives the symbol its recognition.
The Bible gives a few, and powerful, symbols that are connected to important events and truths. One author states that as our relationship for God grows, so too will our recognition and appreciation of those symbols connected to God’s truth.
Baptism is a symbol of the reality of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. But some see the baptism itself as the reality. We must remember to alway connect the reality to a symbol and not get caught up on the symbol itself and lose the reality.
We begin our communion in the action of washing of each others feet. It is a symbol connected to the cleaning that Jesus has provided through his sacrifice. We read the story of Jesus humbling himself
The next symbol is we participate in a love feast. Not a meal to get full, but to share in the joy of salvation and being together.
We finish our communion with the breaking of bread and drinking of wine.
In this passage we see Jesus setting up symbols of bread and wine. In the past, when Jesus connects the symbol of the bread to the reality of his broken body for our sins, the world cannot grasp it. They might even go as far as saying that Jesus is promoting cannibalism (which he is not!) In the symbol of the wine, it points to the both the blood he would spill on the cross, but also the covenant that was promised since the day of Abraham.
We have a three fold communion as a great reminder of the symbols that remind us of the reality of Jesus’ humility, sacrifice, salvation, covenant, and joy.
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)