Communal Communion

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 Posted by Katie

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I think anyone should be allowed to take communion…anytime, anywhere, given by anyone. 

If you love your sacraments and the theology behind them, please feel free to take a moment to let that sink in…and recover from the stroke I just gave you.

Truly I mean no harm or disrespect to the sacrament of communion or the ordained persons who are generally given the exclusive charge of it. On the contrary, my opinion of such a “no holes barred” approach to communion has so much more to do with my respect and honor of the practice. Jesus didn’t ask for much in the way of traditions from his followers, but he was pretty explicit about the bread and the wine. He asked that his followers to “do this in remembrance of me”.

And so…we oughta come to the table and we oughta taste the freedom that Jesus offers us.

For me, this means that my Lutheran-bred lips will go rogue and crash communion when I’m visiting a Catholic mass. It also means that I will not explain denominational differences to my 4-year-old so that he will “get” why he used to take communion at our old church, but now he isn't permitted to at our new church. Nope, my son simply goes rogue, like his Mama, and takes communion because Jesus asked him to. It also means that I am 100% behind families like Anitra's who take communion together in their home, even without the assistance of an ordained minister.

Lest I begin to sound like anything goes when it comes to the practice of my faith, I will share that I believe in depth of my soul that there is at least one firm rule about the taking of communion: It should never happen alone. Communion is communal.

It is not just about remembering. It is about remembering TOGETHER. For me, it’s the togetherness that matters most.

Years ago, when my family lived in England, we attended an International Community Church (a denominational mix of ex-pat Americans), which met in the “cafetorium” of a local British school. Someone once asked our pastor how it was that we could worship there because it wasn’t consecrated ground.

Our pastor’s reply? “This becomes consecrated ground when we meet here together.”

For me, it’s the togetherness that makes communion holy. I mentioned a song last week written by Nicole Nordeman in which she beautifully expresses my thoughts on the matter.

"Please Come"

Oh the days when I drew lines around my faith
to keep you out, to keep me in, to keep it safe.
Oh the sense of my own self entitlement
to say who’s wrong, or won’t belong, or cannot stay.

‘Cause somebody somewhere decided we’d be better off divided.
And somehow, despite the damage done, He says, ‘Come.
There is room enough for all of us...

Oh the times when I have failed to recognize
How many chairs are gathered there around the feast
To break the bread and break these boundaries
That have kept us from our only common ground
The invitation to sit down if we will come…
(Listen here and be blessed)

Matthew once wrote, “Whenever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I with you also.” When we dine around the Table together, we do more than remember Jesus. We taste His very presence and we are united by His nourishment.

Y’all come.

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