At work last night I had a revelation. The longer I live the less important Communion (Eucharist) becomes. As I read Scripture I see that what congregations do here and now is so far removed from the example of Jesus as to call into question the whole ritual as practised today.

For instance, Luke writes that Jesus gave the cup twice, at the beginning and end of the meal (Luke 22:14-20).

English: Baptist communion elements

Baptist communion elements (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the “Didache” (an early document some scholars accept was like a confirmation guideline for new believers) the cup is given first and the breaking of bread follows.

What Christians do today follows the prescription by Paul (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Did any preacher or Sunday School teacher ever tell you it wasn’t the only way to take Eucharist?

It’s clear that Eucharist as practised by the early followers of The Way came closer to what Jesus did, a whole meal. But that got messed up as people failed to share the food, so the poor went hungry and the rich, apparently, even got drunk they had so much (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). I know I’m naughty, but that evokes hysterical images of Baptist Communion gone amok in my mind – sorry.

Paul emphatically writes that people who take Eucharist without purity actually die! (See 1 Corinthians 11:27-30). Despite that we take the whole thing more and more lightly. Children take the elements. Now they are innocent and protected by God, that is true, but what message do we send when children reach the age of discernment but often are not asked whether they follow Jesus or not? And if they do not, how does one then tell them they are excluded from a ritual they took part in for years?

So, in this Babel of activity I have trouble being moved by the ritual at all anymore.

I would rather “tell about the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26b God’s Word) in my love and faithful service to Jesus in my daily walk than a secret ceremony devoid of discernment.

Chew on that for awhile…