Since late 2015, Greenbriar Church has been celebrating weekly communion each Sunday. We are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate Christ in this way. Yet, like many weekly activities, it is good to be reminded of communion's importance so that this time does not become something begrudging or tiresome.
One of our Core Values at Greenbriar is to "Open Up". We value transparency. Several of our Partners, guests, and attenders now being familiar with our practice of weekly communion have spoken to staff and elders about the weekly practice. These comments are not harmful but rather are good for the growth of the individual as well as the church. We want to thank you for sharing your views. In response to weekly communion, we have heard statements such as, "weekly communion feels religious," "do the elder's have to explain communion each week," "people who do not take communion feel awkward," "people have left during communion."
We would like to share some practical ways in which communion can be a powerful part of the gathering, whether it is a weekly, monthly, or quarterly activity in a local body. Our hope is to help establish the practice of communion as a time of refreshing celebration. In the same way that we do not get tired of singing songs, serving one another, or hearing from the Word of God, communion is to be an ever-increasing joy in the life of the believer.
1. Communion sets the table for your response to the sermon.
Communion is different for you as you process the message that was just preached through questioning, repentance, and submission to Christ through the gospel. Communion is remembering Christ's work. Salvation is broken into three parts: Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. I won't go into detail with the three parts here, but his work on the cross was for our salvation (justification). The joy of communion is to know that you are still in need of growth as a believer. It is Christ's work that continues to give you forgiveness for sins you recognized in yourself from the message and a reminder of the power you have over that sin, in Christ, because of his work (sanctification). Taking communion is fresh because you learn more about Christ that week through the message and are able to confess sin, failure, be forgiven and follow Christ in a new way.
2. Communion is a reminder that no matter what your background or status we are all in need of the same Source.
The culture tries to define us. The culture wars, social injustices and it's ailments are bashing each of us into each other. With everyone trying to be different and be celebrated for their differences, Christians come together to learn how our differences are not primary to our identity, but rather that Christ is. It is God who defines us. Communion is a time to celebrate that each person is equal at the cross of calvary. Our identity finds it's greatest joy not in being more individually but in being together. This humbles everyone. Neither your wealth nor your poverty will get you into heaven. Your religious self-control or wrongly-viewed grace without judgement won't get you into heaven. It is by calling on Christ alone. We need a weekly reminder of our need for Christ no matter where you may be on the spectrum of any issue or circumstance.
3. Communion is a reminder that we all need something outside of ourselves.
Again, the culture spreads the idea of self-glorification for the betterment of the soul. Go into any major secular bookstore. In each store, the self-help section is filled with books about how you can fix yourself through self-reflection and behavioral modification. But if you are the problem you can't also be the solution or at least not a sustaining one. Here is where communion matters: instead of believing that you can fix yourself this week as you have done in the past, you call out to the Lord. We cannot save ourselves. Taking communion is our reminder that it is Someone outside of us who now resides in us who has the power to deliver, and not our own will.
4. Communion is about eating together.
When Jesus and the disciples had Passover they had a meal. Pieces of bread or wafers and juice is not a first-choice pick at your favorite restaurant, but it does symbolize something important to any community of believers: communion. We come to partake. We are eating from the same table. We are family. We worship through song, service, preaching, eating and drinking. We have the privilege of becoming more unified as one body as we leave the time of communion. Communion is reviving and changing the body each week.
We may not always have a weekly communion. But there is no doubt in our hearts that each time a church takes communion every believer can grow in joy, happiness, and mission through its practice. Like all things Christ gives to us, Communion becomes an ever-increasing joy as we partake in remembrance of his grace and promises!
If you would like to read a Biblical teaching on Communion please click here: http://timbice.com/archives/362
Written by: John Schroeder, Elder & Executive Pastor