I recently led our home church in communion, we’re usually informal with it, but this time we decided to do it according to the way it was set forth in 1 Corinthians, chapter 11 reading that Scripture as we did and also John 6:44 - 52 and very solemnly.
I prepared by getting a bottle of nonalcoholic grape juice from the Kosher section at the supermarket and making bread.
Now, when I cook or bake, I rarely use recipes. I go by feel. I learned to bake bread during the early ‘70s. A measure of whole wheat, a measure of unbleached white flour, yeast started in a cup of warm water with a dab of honey, eggs, honey, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Kneaded well, risen twice. Baked at 350. Loaves painted with melted butter to brown. When I was finished I had two large round loaves of brown, fragrant bread that tasted like honey, butter, wheat and yeast.
But, we did not bake them for enjoyment. Before we said our blessing over them, I spoke of the millions of people around the globe who risk their lives by eating this meal. As Christ said, we are joined with Him in a very real sense, if we eat his flesh and drink his blood, he abides in us; and we in him. We are grafted to the true vine. Members of his body. And therefore, also members of one another.
Christ commands us to love one another. And he went on to say that the greatest love is to lay down our lives for one another, our friends.
Around the world, in many places, Satan’s police and armies are rounding up Christians and putting them in prison, torturing them and murdering them. They are the modern martyrs. The numbers have dramatically increased, some estimating 60,000 per year.
So, I invited my friends to remember how we were saved by his blood and how somewhere people are kneeling in the dirt saying their final prayers so, taking this meal is taking a blood oath to Jesus and to one another. We would never betray, never recant, and never abandon our faith of our friends-- even unto death.
So, I invite the Christian, take this meal with your with your close group, considering seriously and earnestly that it means your friendship in Christ Jesus is no casual thing. Rather, your lives are pledged to him and to each other. For, there is a time of trial coming and everyone who partakes of the Lord’s flesh and blood must face the dark powers and stand. We are all sent to do so. This is more than a calling--we are sent as sheep among wolves. We must be wise and cautious, but not shrink back when the moment comes. And there will be reward for those who are true and damnation for any who are false. Amen.
Meanwhile, let us be close as dear friends and partake of one another’s sorrows, pray for one another, listen to each other and bear the other’s burdens. Let us be tolerant, forgiving, kind, generous and not divisive. not short tempered or sharp tongued. We gently admonish those who slip; and praise God for others’ triumphs! For this is the way of the cross and we all go to it willingly, joyfully, because the reward for those who persevere is great.