Community + Unity = Communion

I want to take a look at an essential aspect of partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine each week. That has to do with our unity as we partake together. Let’s begin with what Christ accomplished in this regard on the cross.

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”(Ephesians 2:11-16 ESV)

Before we were baptized into Christ and He added us to His body, our lives were characterized by separation and alienation. But now, because of the blood that was shed for us on the cross, we have been spiritually united with each other in our covenant with God. This was just one more critical thing that Christ accomplished for us. We have fellowship with each other based on the shed blood of Christ. Preserving that unity is critical, since it was made possible for us at such a high cost!

That covenant bond of blood is what Paul was referring to in 1st Corinthians 10:16-17:

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 ESV)

Do you see how special it is that we come together to participate in this feast each week? Without the unity we have through the our reconciliation to God through the blood of Jesus, we cease to have “communion” and have degenerated down to just having a ceremony.

Look how foundational this is in the next chapter (11)!
“For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.”
Now with this disunity as the context of what was going on when they ate the Lords Supper, Paul concludes with these instructions:
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:18-20, 27-29 ESV)

Did you see that? In proper context, when Paul talks about not discerning the body, I think he was referring to failing to discerning that we do this together, in unity, as communion. That is also why we don’t just stay home and serve these emblems to ourselves.

So when we partake of the emblems, let’s remember to not only reflect on what Christ has done for us personally, but also on the reality that we are partaking of this as one family, one body, in an d with Christ. For He promised that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there in our midst.