Communion Or Lord's Supper?
I remember sitting in the back of the classroom. There were two other students with me at the table. It was the third grade at Our Lady of Pompeii. We three were the outliers of the class. The teacher was teaching the students on taking their first holy communion. My parents made it clear to the principal that I was not to participate. That was the same for the other two students and myself. So we got the back table during those lessons. I was a Baptist. The other boy was a Methodist. The girl was Jewish. Us three, the outliers. The non-catholics. The different ones. We sat there and colored (I think). But my mind was on something else entirely. I was loathing in self pity. I was thinking how lucky the catholic kids were. I wanted to eat that bread and drink that wine!! It looked so…pious. So official. So religious. So…so…grown up! It seemed so cool to do something the adults did. It meant you were getting older and more responsible. There was a curiosity and mystique with it. What did the bread taste like? Was it real wine we will be drinking? Like actual liquor?!?! My little 3rd grade brain was racing with questions, aura and sadness. I wanted to take communion! Why were my parents being such a killjoy?!
In hindsight my parents did the right thing. I understand now their reasons and would have done the same for my kids. Growing up in a catholic school and a baptist church has impressed a lot various theology on me. I know the theological differences between the catholic practice of communion and the protestants. The catholics approach to the Lord’s table is very unbiblical and harmful to a soul. Transubstantiation is no where to be found in scripture. Unless you want to twist their meanings for your own theological bent.With my experiences I have made sure I do not do things that may seem too “Catholicy”. I've wanted to keep my distance knowing they are a false religion that is very similar to christianity. For instance:
- Not reciting the same prayers over and over again. It is soulless and heartless. And Jesus warned us about prayers like this.
- Not having any crucifixions around my home or church. Jesus rose from the dead. He’s not on the cross anymore!
- Calling it The Lord’s Supper and not communion. Communion just always seemed to me the Catholic word for it.
- And not having the Lord’s supper every week like they do. Just like the prayers, it can make the very sacred ordinance a meaningless repetition.
But recently I was challenged on my viewpoints of the Lord’s Supper. For one thing the Bible itself does call it communion. For example in 1 Corinthians 10 Paul talks about the fellowship we have with God and each other when we feast at the table. The word he uses is koinonia. The English word being communion (see 1 Corinthians 10:16-17). This word is important because we have communion with each other and God Himself in a very special way during the Lord’s Supper.
Also I have reconsidered my position on the frequency of communion. While it is true that repetition can breed a hollow experience, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. If this principle was to be taken seriously then we should not be doing a lot of things in church every week. Prayer, preaching and singing should all be done periodically to prevent a meaningless repetition. But I was never concerned about the recurrence of these religious practices. There is also the account in Acts of the frequency of their communion. The Bible informs us that the new church would break bread every time they got together (see Acts 2:44-47).
This was a specific sacrament God has ordained for the church to use. The Lord’s Supper has multiple meanings and layers of religious affections as we commune with our Father. He instituted it for us, His church, so that we would commune with Him and each other, remember the covenant, remember His death and proclaim it until He comes. He gave us an ordinance that has a special grace and means to commune with our Heavenly Father. So why not use it?! With this in mind I will be administering communion more frequently than I have before. I pray it is a benefit to the souls in our pews as God had intended. May it grow us into closer communion with Him until that day when we will feast with Him physically for all of eternity.